dandelions

etymology;

"Dandelion" comes from the French phrase "dent de lion" meaning lion's tooth. The look of the leaves explain this;

leaves.jpg

It is best to collect dandelion leaves in the spring before the flower buds appear, this is when they are not too bitter and can even be eaten raw in salads and the like. Alternatively, make a little extra effort later in the season when the flowers are in bloom. The best way to harvest them is by cutting the greens with the top of the root still attached so that the leaves stay together, and this way they are easier to clean.

(careful if they are near the road like this)

gutter.jpg
east note

to note, they will absorb whatever chemicals and minerals are present in the soil they grow in, so definitely stay well back from roadsides and other questionable areas. However, they are very common and easy to find, most people just want to get rid of them from gardens, but surely once you figure out how good they are you will most likely use them up and wish that the ‘pests’ would just come back. You should have been nice in the first place.
If there are flowers and buds already on the plant, don’t worry. Just wait until the flowering is complete then cut the old greens and flowers off at the root and let new greens grow. Harvest the new greens while they are young and tender and they will be only a little more bitter than if you got to them early in the spring. The better the soil the better the greens, try gorwing them at the edge of your vege garden.

cooking;

Wash them twice, one as a bunch, rinsing them, then cut off all the root and stem stuff and get it nice and clean. The young leaves can be eaten raw of course, in any sort of salad you like. To cook, If you like, sprinkle the greens with salt and use just the water that was clinging to the leaves after washing, then steam them, or cook in a well covered heavy pot until they are just hardly even tender (takes about 5 - 10 mins). Drain and chop. Dress with any of below:
lemon juice
vinegar
olive oil
garlic
add to eggs
cheese
salt and pepper

roots

If you get some really big bonus roots, they can be grated and added to salads or to/in cooked dishes if you wish.

coffee

Ideally wait until late in the Autumn to harvest the roots, this is when they will be the biggest. Scrub the dirt off, but don't peel them. Let them dry for a few days (in the sun if you can), then lightly roast them at about 90 degrees Celsius for 3-4 hours or until they are dry and brown, and start to smell like coffee. Grind them up. For each cup of coffee, add a cup of boiling water to each tsp of the powder.
Allow to steep for 5 min or till desired taste is reached.

sauted dandelion blooms

cornerblossom

1 cup of flour
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
1/2 teaspoon each of thyme, marjoram, sage, paprika, what you have
2 dozen large, fresh dandelion blossoms, freshly rinsed and still damp
Cooking oil

Mix flour and all seasonings together.
Coat the bottom of a fry pan with oil and heat to a medium temperature.
Coat the damp dandelions in the flour mixture, and fry in the oil until golden brown. Turn them as necessary to brown all sides.
Remove blossoms from pan and set to drain on paper towels, or use paper bags to soak up the excess oil.
Best when served fresh and hot.

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