I didn’t intend for this to be a 2-part series, but after looking out into my backyard and seeing what you see in the photo above (the picture doesn’t do it justice!), I got so motivated to find ways to use all those dandelion blossoms! So, like with everything else, I consulted my trusty friend, Mr. Google, for help. Have you ever spent hours looking for something and walking away in disappointment, only to turn around looking for it again a week later, and it’s right there? No? Well, maybe it’s just me
But that’s what happened when I went searching for recipes for dandelion flowers. Last week, I found so many ways to use the greens, but all the recipes I found for the flowers were all sweets – jams, syrups, cookies, etc. This time when I went on my search, I knew I wanted something that could be served with/for dinner. Something substantial and nutritious.
Just an FYI: dandelion flowers pack a real hefty nutrition boost to whatever you add them to. They’re chock full of beta-carotene, vitamin C, iron, and other nutrients! The blossoms specifically are very good for the heart, they promote blood circulation, and the pollen has antibacterial properties.
And then it happened; I hit the jackpot of dandelion flower recipes when I came across this awesome post from Eat the Weeds. It had all sorts of different ideas to try, so I focused my efforts on three recipes that I made that day: Coconut Dandelion Blossom Muffins, Cream of Dandelion Soup, and Dandelion Blossom Burgers – we had the soup and the burgers for dinner that night, along with a dandelion greens salad, of course!
So, that afternoon, I took Baby Y out to the backyard where we picked a whole bunch of dandelion flower heads – well, I picked, he just kind of grabbed at what he could and pulled until he got something, probably wondering why on earth I was allowing him to continue. It was a beautiful sunny day, just perfect for foraging!
After our play time and flower picking, we went inside and I washed the flowers. Ok, here is where you will do what I say, not what I do! I made the mistake of washing the flowers before removing the petals – it makes sense, right? Wrong! Those little suckers hold onto so much water, it was so difficult to grab hold and remove the petals without them all sticking to my hands, so it was a little frustrating in the beginning, to say the least. Honestly, next time, I probably wouldn’t even wash them at all since I know exactly where they came from. I would just inspect each flower before I removed the petals and blow away any bugs I saw.
Alright, onto removing the petals! This was definitely a learning experience After some trial and error, I learned that you have to squeeze the green base very hard between your thumb and index fingers until you feel the petals release, then roll the base between your fingers to loosen the petals, and pull out the petals with your other hand. I also read later that it may be better to pick them when they aren’t fully bloomed – when the petals are kind of sticking straight up, since it’s easier to grab hold of the petals that way.
It’s really quite easy once you get the hang of it, but it is Time. Consuming! I can honestly say that it really was worth it though From the bowl’s worth that I picked, I got around 3 cups of loosely packed petals – perfect! One cup for each of the three recipes! Just for reference, I counted about 50 flowers for each cup of loose petals (yes, I actually sat there and counted them…you’re welcome )
Alright, I know you’re just here for pictures of the recipes, so here you go! Click on the individual links for each recipe! Enjoy
EDIT: Since writing this post, I have also made some beautiful and yummy dandelion syrup! Check it out at the link below!
This post was shared here: Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, Frugal Tuesday Tip – Learning the Frugal Life, Frugal Tuesday Tip – Getting Ahead Blog, Works For Me Wednesday, Simple Living Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Penny Pinching Party,
Spring is in the air, bringing with it new life to the the trees, the flowers, and yes, the weeds. For as long as I can remember, weeds were always a bad thing – a pesky garden invader that must be eradicated by any means necessary! I never thought much of it and grew up believing that yes, all weeds were not only created equal, but that they all needed to be diligently removed from the yard “before they take over.”
Fast-forward to today and I now know that no, all weeds are not created equal. Not only that, but many weeds are actually used for their medicinal purposes, and can even be eaten! One such weed is the dandelion; those pretty little round, globe-like yellow flowers that pop their heads up around this time of year. I only remember them from my childhood, growing up in Chicago. I don’t ever remember seeing any during the 10+ years that I lived in South Florida (yeah, they’re pretty obsessed with their manicured, polished lawns down there ), and I’m now seeing them in lawns all over our new neighborhood here in Toronto, because the city (and the whole province, I believe) have stopped spraying pesticides on public spaces.
The technical term for dandelions is Taraxacum officinale – anytime you see ‘officinale’ in the name, it means it’s a medicinal herb – imagine that! Dandelion also has many culinary uses as well, as the entire plant is edible – the flowers can be pan-fried, added to dishes like eggs, or made into syrup, the greens are used in salads or sautéed, even the roots can be used to make a coffee-like drink!
Nutritionally, dandelions are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They have the highest vitamin A content of all greens! Medicinally, they are a good diuretic, a blood-detoxifier, good for liver function, and can also be used to treat digestive disorders. Quite a long list for what seems like just a pesky little weed!
To read more about the health and nutritional benefits of dandelions, visit this link.
But we’re not really here to talk about why dandelions are good for us; we’re here to discuss how we can incorporate them into our diet! This week, Mr. B and I tried a few recipes using both the leaves and the flower buds, and I must say, I’m really liking all of this edible weeds business! As we sat down to eat each dish, we both reveled in the fact that we’d just literally picked this wild plant out of our own backyard…because it’s just there…growing…on its own…without any help or effort from either of us. Amazing!
One easy, quick way to use dandelions is just by adding it to your salad. We just made our regular salad, using a little less romaine lettuce than we usually do, and added some young dandelion greens, that we chopped up into 2-inch pieces. The greens gave the salad a slightly peppery kick, which we both enjoyed very much.
We also made dandelion fritters (pictured above) by dipping the flower heads into a batter of flour, milk, and egg, then pan-frying them in a skillet. We drizzled them with honey and enjoyed a quick, sweet mid-morning snack I found the recipe at this link, if you want to try it. I also added some honey and cinnamon to the batter (not in original recipe). You can also go for savory, instead of sweet, and add salt and pepper, garlic, hot pepper, and any other spices you like.
Once we got a little better acquainted with the idea of eating this weed, we then attempted to use it in a main dish for dinner. I improvised what I think was the tastiest meal I’d eaten in a really long time! But I may be biased I chopped up some greens and sautéed them with some garlic, frozen spinach, mushrooms, a splash of soy sauce, and some chopped cashews. This. Was. Awesome. For my original recipe, follow this link: Dandelion Greens & Spinach Stir-Fry (pictured below)
We also added dandelions to our breakfast in a baked omelet. I love baked omelets and frittatas (way more than the traditional folded omelet) so I couldn’t wait to try this! We used unopened flower buds and some chopped greens, along with onions, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese. All I can say is YUM! The recipe is up at this link: Dandelion Greens & Buds Baked Omelet (pictured below)
One night, we made two different dishes with the greens for dinner: Tilapia and Dandelion Greens on Pita and Mashed Potatoes with Dandelion Greens and Carmelized Onions. Best. Dinner. Ever. I won’t even bother explaining this to you. Just follow the links and let the recipes and photos speak for themselves! Here are some teaser photos
Looking out at our lawn, filled with dandelions, has inspired me to keep finding new ways to use the plant in our kitchen. Next on my list is dandelion syrup, dandelion blossom cookies, cream of dandelion soup, and dandelion tea, as well as finding new ways to incorporate them into our favorite dishes. Yes, it seems I’m creating a whole new category of posts just for this wonderfully versatile weed But you better hurry, because before we know it, they’ll be turning to seed and we won’t get to enjoy them again like this until next year!
Some notes to consider when selecting and preparing dandelions:
- When foraging for dandelions, make sure to stay away from areas close to roads, or areas that have been treated with pesticides.
- The best time to harvest the greens is in early spring, when they’re young, before they begin to flower. As they get older, they become bitter, but can still be used if you boil or sauté them.
- The greens shrink down dramatically when cooked – up to 4-5 times smaller! Keep this in mind when gathering greens; you can almost never have too much.
- The tenderest, sweetest part of the plant is the “crown”, the cluster of new buds that sits right above the taproot.
- When washing the greens, rinse them under water, then soak for a few minutes, changing the water as many times as needed until there’s no more debris in the water.
- To wash the flowers, gently rinse them under running water to force out any bugs. Then lay them out to dry, while you prepare your recipe.
This week’s Tiny Tip is so cool, I can’t wait to share it with you! And I found it on…you guessed it – Pinterest!
Did you know you could grow green onions in water on your windowsill? No pots, no soil… just some water and sunlight, and those babies will be growing in days. And it doesn’t just work for green onions – you can use this method for many other greens like chives, basil, and romaine lettuce!
I don’t use green onions that much, so I hate having to buy the big bunch of 10 stalks that’s sold at the store because I can never use them all up before they go bad. So when I found this cool trick, I jumped on it right away! Now I can keep them on my kitchen window and snip off what I need when I need it. I love it and can’t wait to try this with other greens.
All I did was save the roots of some green onions, “planted” them in a couple inches of water, and placed them on my kitchen windowsill. Then every other day, I rinsed the roots off and replaced the water in the cup. That’s it!
By the third day I could already see new growth…
and by the next week I was already snipping some off to add to the omelet I made that morning!
This was so easy and yielded such quick results, that I just knew I had to share it with you this week
EDIT: To prevent root rot, and the nasty smell that comes with it, make sure you use only a minimal amount of water – maybe an inch or so. Also, don’t overcrowd the onions. I only had about 5-6 in a cup. And remember to change the water and rinse the roots often – at least every other day!
UPDATE: This also works for romaine lettuce too! Just put the leftover stump in a shallow dish with water and within days, it will start regrowing! The leaves are much smaller, and you eventually, the stump gets soft, after which you just throw it into the compost, but it does give you one more mini-harvest before throwing it away!