Celebrate Dandelions!

Of all the herb-to-weed stories, dandelion’s is by far the most dramatic. This remarkable herb was considered a necessity of life until recently. As a food, beverage stock, medicine, and dietary supplement, dandelion is unrivalled in the plant kingdom. Indeed, no other genus has stepped forward to fill the vacuum in the century and a half since dandelion’s fall. Thriving in all but the most extreme climates, with versatile reproductive capabilities that ensure survival, dandelion is everything humanity could wish for in a crop.

From healer of the sick and feeder of the hungry, dandelion has been reduced to that blackest of suburban blackguards, an invader of lawns. Too bad. Its wine is known to taste like “distilled sunshine!” Here are some dandelion recipes to inspire you to save and savor your dandelions:

Dandelion Appetizers
A healing plate of either of these recipes, served with toothpicks or just eaten with the fingers, is a real crowd-pleaser. The blossom should be as fresh as possible, with all traces of the bitter, milk-oozing stem removed. (The green calyx is less problematic and holds the flower together.) Rinse the flowers just before cooking and shake off the excess water.

Sauteed Dandelions
MAKES ABOUT TWO DOZEN

1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon each thyme, marjoram, sage, and paprika
Salt to taste
24 dandelion blossoms
3 tablespoons oil

Thoroughly blend the dry ingredients and spread the mixture on a dinner plate. Place the plate and the blossoms near the stove.

Swirl the oil into a frying pan and heat over medium heat, until a pinch of flour sizzles and browns.

Use a fork to roll five or six dandelion blossoms in the flour mixture. (They should be dewy from rinsing, but not wet.) Then drop them into the hot oil. Saute lightly until golden, generally a minute or so.

Turn the fried blossoms onto newspapers or paper towels and pop them into a warm oven.

Repeat with the rest of the blossoms, replenishing the oil as necessary. Serve hot.

Southwestern Style Dandelion Poppers
MAKES ABOUT TWO DOZEN

½ cup cornmeal
¼ cup flour
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon each ground cayenne pepper and chili powder
Salt to taste
1 egg, beaten
24 dandelion blossoms
3 tablespoons oil
Lime juice

Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly and spread the mixture on a dinner plate. Place the beaten egg in a shallow bowl, then place the egg, the plate with the cornmeal mixture, and the blossoms near the stove.

Swirl the oil into a frying pan and heat over medium heat, until a pinch of flour sizzles and browns.

Use a fork to roll five or six dandelion blossoms in the egg, then in the cornmeal mixture, and drop them into the hot oil. Fry the blossoms until crisp and golden, generally a minute or so.

Turn the fried blossoms onto newspapers or paper towels and pop them into a warm oven.

Repeat with the rest of the blossoms, replenishing the oil as necessary.

Sprinkle lime juice over the fried blossoms and serve hot.

Adapted from “The Neighborhood Forager,” by Robert K. Henderson (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2000). Copyright (c) 2000 by Robert K. Henderson. Reprinted by permission of Chelsea Green Publishing.
Adapted from “The Neighborhood Forager,” by Robert K. Henderson (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2000).

107 comments

Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Zazgyva A.
Zazgyva A.4 years ago

wow... might give it a try

Sheri P.
Sheri P.4 years ago

Thanks for the great recipes! I just finished reading another article on here about dandelions...how apropos!

Emily Drew
Emily Drew5 years ago

thanks! Cant wait to try! i sure hope i like dandlions as much as my guinea pigs and tortoise do.

Arla Ouellette
Arla O.5 years ago

Those are such wonderful ideas! I agree dandilions are not given the credit they deserve. I am pro-dandilion, anyone else?

Joy Mcronald
Joy McRonald5 years ago

I used to blow them when I was a young girl, just so we could find out what time it was...so silly...my rabbit loves them..

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.6 years ago

Thanks... a friend makes coffee from the dandelion roots

James Dunn
James Dunn8 years ago

No longer just a week

Joe Snavely
Joe Snavely9 years ago

Several of you asked re. Dandelion wine, and while there may be many recipes out there, here's a few good ones! Let us know how it turns out!
http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/dandelio.asp

Melissa Dawson Chapman
Melissa Dawson9 years ago

I used to have the recipe for the wine... but have not been able to find it... any help?