5 recipes for your dandelion weeds.
Right, this is it.
If you live in Sydney this is the time of the year that the fields bloom with dandelion flowers.
Yes of course , the pesky weed flowers all year round, but now and for the next couple of weeks at least, is when it gets blooming everywhere, and it is the perfect time to harvest large amounts of this incredibly beneficial treat!
I have a special connection with the plant as it is indeed the first plant that I learned to identify as a young boy growing up on a farm. At the time it was still common practice (in regional northern Italy) to harvest the seasonal blessing that are dandelions. SO off we went, harvesting bag and small knife in hand, to collect the young shoots of dandelion as the winter receded and let through the first warm days of spring.
Such great memories that I carry dear in my heart, so much that still now I teach this appreciation of dandelions.
Yes it is a pesky weed and it pops up in all sorts of unexpected places, but it is also one of the most nutritious plants in the world, celebrated in both eastern and western herbalism and loved by countless cultures.
The best part of it is that it grows outside your door step, within a couple of meters of your home. It is everywhere, and is one of the most prolific adaptors. Chances are, you might have to become good neighbours.
Do you love it yet?
See below a few recipes to get you going.
Roast Pumpkin & sauté Dandelion salad with honey and balsamic dressing
1/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds, Toasted in olive oil and garlic salt.
200g of Dandelion leaves washed
1.75kg butternut pumpkin, deseeded and cut into 2cm- thick pieces
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1.Preheat oven to 250°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Place pumpkin in a single layer on trays. Toss in olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast pumpkin, turning once, for 20 minutes or until golden and tender. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
2.Toss pumpkin seeds in oil and garlic salt and toast in moderate oven until lightly browned (approx 5 minutes)
3. Chop or tear Dandelion greens into bite-sized pieces; leaves may also be used whole, and sauté with oil in a hot pan until cooked through. Set aside.
4.Make honey and balsamic dressing: Combine honey, vinegar and oil in a screw top jar. Secure lid and shake to combine. Remove lid. Shake until well combined. If honey is not so runny, warm in saucepan before adding to jar.
5.Place Dandelion and pumpkin in a large bowl or platter. Sprinkle with roasted pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Serve up with a smile.
As with anything growing in the wild before you harvest it you want to make sure you are confident in it’s identification so familiarising yourself with it’s features is very important. Watch out for doppelgängers in the plant world. There are a few in your garden so what you want to look for is ‘lion teeth’ leaves and the presence of a single flower per stalk.
The two main look-alike plants are flatweed (AKA false dandelion) who has hairy leaves, they lack the sharp looking teeth of the Dandelion and have several flowers per stalk.
The second ‘non-dandelion’ is sowthistle, who has jagged edges similar to dandelion but distinctively several flowers per stalk.
Both look-alike species are edible but please make sure you know your dandies before you harvest in any amount.
But what about the flowers?
Let me entice you with Dandelion flower fritters, Appalachian style!
So much you can do!