Dandelions are a rich- and abundant- source of many vitamins and nutrients, and can be used to treat a number of health conditions, including UTIs, jaundice, and menopause symptoms. One of the reasons we’re so fond of these little weeds is that you can get their numerous health benefits in your own backyard- literally!
If you’re planning on harvesting your own dandelions- why not, they’re pretty much everywhere- take notes! The aerial part of the plant (the part growing above ground) should be harvested when the plant is relatively small- the taste is less bitter at this stage. This portion of the plant should also be frozen, rather than dried, to retain more of the medicinal properties and nutrients. The flowers should be harvested in the spring, the roots in the fall, and the greens (leaves) anytime. Collect, prep, and store to take advantage of dandelion’s many health benefits year-round!
STORING THE DANDELION GREENS:
If you’re only storing dandelion leaves short-term, refrigerate in a plastic bag, and do not wash them until you’re ready for use. These will usually last 3 to 5 days. If you’re stocking up for the winter, there’s a three-step process. 1- Thoroughly wash the greens and cut off the woody stem. 2- Blanch (plunge into boiling water) for two minutes, then chill quickly in ice cold water. And 3- Drain off any excess moisture, package in airtight containers or freezer bags, and freeze immediately. Don’t forget to label with the contents and date- frozen dandelions are best used within 6 months.
STORING THE FLOWERS AND STEMS:
Rinse the flowers thoroughly, and set them on a towel to dry. If they are to be used for tea, tear them into small pieces prior to freezing. Flash-freeze the dandelions by laying them on a flat surface in the freezer for an hour; this will keep them from freezing into a big, solid lump of dandelion-stuff. Place the frozen dandelion stems, leaves and flowers in a freezer-safe storage container or bag. These should also be used within 6 months.
STORING THE DANDELIONS ROOT:
Dandelion root can be frozen, but it is most commonly preserved by drying, as it is most commonly used in its dried state, ground for brewing coffee or tea. Soak and rinse the dandelion root thoroughly. Lie flat to dry in a window, dehydrator, or oven with a temperature setting below 125 degrees. When dried, place the root in an air-tight container labeled with the date and contents. Dried dandelion root is best used within 1 year.
Now your kitchen is stocked, but what will you do with all these dandelion? Check out our recipes with this herbal ingredient.
ROASTED DANDELION ROOT COFFEE
Wash dandelion roots thoroughly.
Chop roots into small chunks. Place in a bowl of water and scrub.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Place roots on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven to dry. Leave the oven door open slightly to let moisture escape. Stir frequently to make sure they dry evenly and don’t burn. As the roots dry they’ll shrink and turn brown. The drying process will take 2+ hours.
Once roasted, let the roots cool completely.
Store in a sealed glass jar.
To make coffee, use 1 teaspoon of roots for every cup of water. They can be put in the coffee pot, or put them in a tea infuser and add boiling water.
Add hot milk to sweeten.
SAUTEED DANDELION GREENS (with olive oil, lemon and garlic)
washed dandelion greens (as much as you want)
salt (Himalayan Pink recommended)
1 fresh lemon
Heat a good dollop of olive oil, and a bit of the garlic, in a nonstick skillet.
Once the garlic has become flavorful, add dandelion greens. Cook them on medium-high for 35 minutes until they’re wilted much like you’d cook spinach.
When done, add salt and lemon juice to taste.
EXTRAS Try with parmesan, red pepper, capers, or chopped onion.
Eat these sauteed dandelion greens alone, as a side, or added into another dish (I’m thinking pasta!).
DANDELION GREENS AUTUMN SALAD
- washed dandelion greens
- fresh spinach
- sliced apple
- goat cheese
- olive oil and red wine dressing
Just mix and enjoy!
Looking for more information on the health benefits of dandelions? Look no further!