"Oh, dandelion, yellow as gold,
What do you do all day?"
"I just wait here in the long green grass
Till the children come to play."
Each Spring, when the open meadows and urban lawns suddenly explode with countless Dandelion blossoms, I get super excited. There's something truly magical about playing in a field of dandelions with children, picking the blossoms and weaving them into crowns, and nibbling on the freshly harvested flowers while lounging in the sunshine. If that doesn't qualify as quintessentially Spring, then I don't know what does!
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) have long been considered an unwelcome "weed" by many. But did you know that dandelions are one of the most nutritious plants in your backyard? The entire plant is edible and contains many nourishing vitamins and minerals including Vitamins A , C, E, and B’s, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron. The fresh raw spring greens add a slightly bitter, earthy flavor when mixed into salads, thrown into stews, or steamed in stir-fry’s. In the fall, it’s nice to harvest, roast, and grind the root of the dandelion for a healthy coffee substitute. The roots also provide a great source of iron, are nourishing to the liver, and help lower high blood sugar.
Aside from Dandelion Wine, our other favorite (and much more kid-friendly!) way of consuming dandelions this time of year is by immersing the flower heads in pancake batter and frying them up to make fritters. These tasty fried nuggets of goodness are a great way to “sneak” healthy wild food onto your families' dinner plates!
Here is how we make them:
Step 1- Harvest the Dandelion flowers (just the tops) when their blooms are wide open on a sunny day.
Step 2- Once you are done harvesting, whip up your favorite pancake batter mix. Or make your own batter from scratch by combining one egg, one cup of milk and one cup of flour.
Step 3- Warm your skillet to medium heat and drop a good amount of oil in there. We like to use organic coconut oil.
Step 4- Once the oil is bubbling, it’s time to dip the dandelion flowers into the batter. Hold a dandelion top by the greens underneath the flower petals. Dip the flower head-first into the batter until it is completely covered with yummy batter.
Step 5- Gently drop that batter-covered flower head into the oil (watch for splattering hot oil! Adult supervision of young chefs is highly recommended!) Repeat until your skillet is full of frying Dandelion heads.
Step 6- Once the flowers are cooked through (make sure you flip them over so they are browned on both sides), place them on a paper towel to soak up some of the grease.
Step 7- Enjoy these yummy fritters with your favorite sweetener. These are really delicious with maple syrup, honey, jam, or powdered sugar. Or experiment with adding different spices to the batter and enjoying them with savory sauces or dips to create a savory snack. The possibilities are endless. Yum!
Now we'd love to hear from you! Like dandelions too?? What's your favorite way to eat them?