Five minutes of weeding my neighbor's yard yielded several meals worth of nutritious, fresh vegetables: beautiful dandelion greens and their roots, and several cups of yummy purslane.
Last spring I planted a variety named Clio,and allowed it to grow. Clio's leaves are less jagged than the wild lion's teeth (dent de lion), but she's not nearly as plentiful, so I added my cultivated variety to the abundant offerings from my yard and my neighbor's flower beds. Voila! A stock-pot full of greens which I am parboiling for the freezer. I love greens in the winter, and according to this website, dandelion greens make a wonderful saute. Apparently the slightly bitter flavor that they sometimes have is lost in the boiling water. Bonus! *Update: I just tasted a boiled leaf or two...they're delicious, even plain! My few minutes of picking yielded about 6 servings (3 meals for Peter and me).
Conveniently attached to those yummy leaves, you'll find a long taproot. I like to use a long, thin shovel or a screwdriver to dig mine up, but I'm not too careful about getting the whole root, as I like dandelions in my lawn! The best time to harvest the roots is supposedly early spring or just after the first frost, and preferably after a rain when the soil is soft. Those roots can be scrubbed, cut into small pieces, chopped in a food processor then slow-roasted in a warm oven for a tasty and healthy coffee-like drink. Dandelion coffee (or tea) contains vitamins and minerals, and is tasty to boot! Out of curiosity, I priced dandelion root at a local health food store, and was absolutely floored by the cost. Dandelions are everywhere! All you need to do is harvest them!
I also make a healthy dandelion tincture, which gives me loads of energy in the darker months, but that's a story for the winter.
|Dandelion Roots Drying in the Oven|
|Purslane is Simple to Harvest.|