Thursday, April 14, 2011

Put Away the Round-up and get out the Cooking Pot!

My friend and her LARGE bucket!

     All across Northern Italy you will find people out combing through fields in the Spring sun.  What are they doing?  Looking for the tender and tasty Spring Dandelion Greens!  I was invited to go hunting for dandelion greens for the first time 3 Springs ago.  I had nibbled on the raw greens on various wild plant eating excursions in my younger days.  This is different, this is a full on harvest.  I still get so excited when my friend asks me to join her. 

Helper Boy

Early in the spring find dandelion plants that have not yet flowered.  My children love this activity.  I am amazed at how quickly and accurately they learned dandelion from all other leafy plants out there. 

Dandelion Greens!
Take along a sharp knife.  Cut the plant where it attaches to the root, so you get a whole clump of dandelion, not just the loose leaves. 
Dandelion "clump"
Keep in mind dandelions "shrink" when they are cooked, so gather a good mess.  (Notice the LARGE bucket in the first picture.)
Greens getting clean in the sink.
Once at home thoroughly wash your greens.
Cut the dandelion clump in half and remove the dandelion buds, if desired.  This step also aids in getting all the dirt out.

Notice the little dandelion "buds"
Once they are clean place in a large pot and boil until tender.
They can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to eat them. 
When you are ready to eat them, reheat, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
I used dandelion greens instead of spinach in a recipe, the result was delicious. 
I think dandelions are a little milder and more delicate in taste than spinach. 


  1. Dandelion greens are quite tasty, and as long as you know what you've put on your lawn, a great way to put a little fresh greens in the diet before the full swing of greens occur

  2. You make a good point about knowing what has been put on your lawn, or the where ever you pick your greens! Stay clear of roadsides, and anywhere that has been treated with pesticides.

  3. I love eating these. I used to grow them just for eating. Num num num.

  4. I just read an article recently about making dandelion wine with the yellow blossoms too. It sounded really good! Amazing to learn about all the beneficial compounds in different parts of the plant!

  5. Those remind me of some of our greens from the CSA last summer. The Cox family is still working on adapting to our greens. Chard was my favorite of the bunch. A friend of mine makes kale chips, so I might try to crisp up my greens this summer.

  6. I was worried the kids wouldn't like them, but Rosie asked for seconds. It took Bear a couple of trys, but he actually ate them, too.
    Sandi, my Mother tried to make dandelion wine once, fortunately she left on a week long geology trip and we through it out while she was gone....something had gone wrong...bad wrong...bad stinky wrong! We spent a lot of time on dandelions in my botanical medicine class. They are used a lot in Chinese medicine, actually I think they may have originated from Asia.

  7. My neighbor makes risotto with hers. I think (always in dialect, so never 100% certain) she tried to explain the cleansing or maybe diuretic effects of the flowers. There is a lot to learn from people who are so closely connected to the land.