Blooming Dandelions

by Cynthia

Dandelion FlowersAs of right now, the first weekend of May, the dandelions are in bloom here in Northwest Oregon. I have been keeping an eye on them for the past month, watching them grow and produce flower buds. I know spring is here when I see those bright and sunny flowers. They almost scream, “Here I am, look at me soaking up the sun!”

Dandelion Flowers I know dandelions are a plant to be cursed by many gardeners and lawn enthusiasts but I do not share in that opinion. Yes, they can be pesky in their ever so prolific ways. I like to see them as being tough survivors that are determined to make their claim on the world. Plus to me a weed is never more than just a weed. There is always a story behind it and, like many weeds, dandelions have a fascinating history. For starters it is believed that dandelions have been used medicinally as early back as the 10th century. That is one well used weed!

Medicinally speaking dandelions are mostly used for their healing effects on the liver. Strengthening and supporting the liver is an important aspect of herbal medicine and dandelion root is one of the first herbs to turn to for this. [i]

Prior to the 17th century dandelions did not exist in North America. European immigrants introduced dandelions to North American soils as it was part of their regular diet. Like many introduced plants it escaped cultivation and now happily roams all over North America.

Dandelions are just as useful in the kitchen as they are in the herbal medicine cabinet. All parts of this perennial weed are edible. In fact it is said that the leaves from dandelions are by far the highest in vitamin A when compared to other greens. Young leaves can be picked and added to salads. Once the plant begins to produce flower buds the leaves become bitter and are better eaten after first being cooked. Come autumn the root can be harvested and dried to make a coffee substitute that is often combined with roasted chicory root (yet another useful weed).

Even the flowers are edible and the other day my 10 year old and I went out and picked some blooms to make fried dandelion flowers for our lunch. They are quite tasty and if you like fried zucchini you will like fried dandelion flowers.

Fried Dandelion Flowers

Fried Dandelion Flowers

Before you begin to make them be sure you harvest your dandelion flowers from areas that you are certain have not been treated with pesticides. Once you have gathered enough blooms place them in a bowl (or sink) of cool water and swish around really well. This helps to dislodge any little bugs that might be hanging out in the flowers. Once the flowers are well washed place them on some towels to dry. It is important they are good and dry so the batter will adhere to them.

To make the batter whisk together:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

In a separate bowl combine:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons oil

Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and beat until batter is smooth.

Fried Dandelion FlowersDip the dandelion flowers into the batter one at a time and drop into hot oil. Fry until nice and golden and remove. Then immediately season with salt to taste.

Now enjoy!


[i] I try to keep the medicinal information on herbs found at this blog small due to various reasons. If anyone would like more information on all the medicinal aspects of dandelions I highly recommend reading this page found at Botanical.com as it is pretty extensive.
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