Region of Origin: Europe
Growth Form: Perennial forb
Current Range: Throughout most of the northern hemisphere
Season of Flowering: Year round

Dandelion seeds can float for several miles, and often land in someone’s lawn where they burst into hundreds. Named for their leaf shape after the French for “lion’s tooth”, dandelions are pests and can out-compete native plants in natural settings, and vehemently hated by many gardeners. Dandelion is one of the first flowers of spring, and the last flowers of autumn, which is good news for bees. All parts of the plant will emit a milky sap when broken. But the delicious news is that all parts of this plant are edible too! The most common use is of young leaves in a variety of lovely green dishes. But dandelions make an exquisite golden jelly too! Older leaves can be used too – simply blanch them to remove some of the bitter flavor, and sauté. Dandelions are also drinkable. The roots can be used to make root beer and tea, and the flowers are used in dandelion wine (what a great way to prevent the plants from going to seed!). Dandelions are high in nutrition, filled with vitamins A, C, K and B complex. They are used in herbal medicine, especially as a tonic for the liver.

Dandelion Recipes

Dandelion Soup

Dandelion Potato Soup

Recipe coutesy of The 3 Foragers

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
2 Tbsp Butter, Divided
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup Carrots, diced
½ cup Onion, diced
2 ea Red Potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cans Chicken Broth (14.5 oz)
1 can Vegetable Broth (14.5 oz)
1½ cups Egg Noodles
2 cups Dandelion Greens, blanched and chopped
1 cup Dandelion Flowers, blanched
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Basil
1 ea Bay Leaf

Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter to skillet over medium heat. Add chicken to pot and cook until lightly browned. Season chicken as desired. Set chicken aside when done. Add remaining olive oil and butter to same pan over medium heat. Saute garlic, potatoes, carrots, and onion until carrots are tender on the outside. Turn heat off, add chicken back to pan, and mix well. Place soup pot on the stove on high heat. Pour chicken broth and vegetable broth into pot. Stir in chicken, vegetable mix, noodles, basil, oregano, salt, black pepper, bay leaf, and dandelion greens and flowers. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes before serving.

Dandelion Jelly

Dandelion Jelly

Recipe courtesy of The 3 Foragers

Writer and forager Karen Monger provides these helpful hints on preparing the dandelions for this luscious dish: “There are lots of recipes floating around the internet, and a few available in older cookbooks. This is the exact recipe we used, and it worked for us. Robert (Gergulics), photographer and also one of the 3 foragers, picked a bucket of flowers, and we pulled all of the yellow petals out of the flower head. We had to remove the green bits, as they seem to be bitter. Picking the petals is a time-consuming, shoulder-aching, and finger-staining job, but the jelly is so tasty, with a deep floral honey flavor that it is all worth it in the end.” Dandelion photo courtesy of The 3 Foragers.

4 cups dandelion flower petals, green bits removed
4 cups water
3 cups dandelion infusion
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 box Sure-Jell powdered pectin
4 1/2 cups. sugar

Place the dandelion flower petals in a pot and add the water, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes, then turn off heat and allow the pot to cool. Use a jelly bag or coffee filter to strain the flowers out of the water, you need 3 c. of dandelion infusion, but may have some extra.

Place dandelion infusion, lemon juice, and pectin powder in a large pot. Whisk together and bring this mixture to a rolling boil. Add all of the sugar at once, stirring constantly, and return the mixture to a rolling boil. Boil 1 minute. Remove the jelly from the heat, skim the foam from the top and ladle into sterilized hot jars. Cover, and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Makes about five 8 oz jars.

Curried Dandelions

Curried Dandelions

Recipe by Wild Man Steve Brill

Corn oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, or olive oil
9 cups young common dandelion leaves or other bitter wild or commercial greens
4-1/2 tsp. garlic, chopped
1-1/2 cups water
3/4 cup silken (the softest variety) tofu
2 tbs. mellow (light-colored) miso
1-1/2 tbs. lime juice
1-1/2 tbs. curry powder, or to taste

Sauté the common dandelion leaves and garlic in the oil 10 minutes. Meanwhile, puree the remaining ingredients in a blender. Add the puree to the dandelions, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Serves 6.