Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, is an edible plant rich in vitamins A, B, C, E and also iron, potassium and even protein. It is also a medicinal herb that is particularly wonderful for your liver. Here are three things you can do with dandelion (there are many more, of course):
1) Tincture the roots and leaves to make an effective diuretic that doubles as a detoxifying cleanser for the liver, kidneys and blood. Recipe: One part plants to two parts liquid (45% alcohol, which you can make with Everclear or another strong liquor diluted with water). Then leave the extract to cure in a dark cabinet for 4-6 weeks. Alternatively, you could make a tea of the same parts to the same effect.
2) Wash and chop the roots, then roast them in your oven at 350 degrees until your kitchen smells like chocolate chip cookies. Then grind them in a coffee grinder or mash them by hand with a mortar and pestle and brew in a coffee maker for a tasty, caffeine-free alternative to the standard morning joe. Or, instead of brewing them, add the root powder to a cookie-baking project for a hearty, wild twist.
3) Be like NYC forager Steve Brill and stir fry the young leaves in a coconut curry sauce for a delicious result. I find the raw leaves a little too bitter, but some people enjoy them fresh in salads as well.
Dandelion is easy to identify, but people sometimes confuse it with another weed called Cat’s Ear, Hypochaeris radicata. Here is how to avoid a mixup: dandelion leaves are smooth and not fuzzy, and it has just one stem per flower (as opposed to a branching stem with several blossoms).
Dandelion is an incredible source of food and medicine. Share this post with your friends and family and help vindicate the most-villified weed in existence.
Then explore many more wild plants on the Search Plants! page.