The dreaded Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), for which we spend tremendous amounts of weed killer money to eradicate, has been prized over the years for its medicinal and nutritious properties.
In fact, dandelion roots, flowers and "dandelion greens" (leaves) are all edible!
Dandelions are a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. And in traditional medicine, dandelion roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans used dandelion decoctions (liquid made by boiling down the herb in water) to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and stomach upset.
|From a great blog: Sierra Foothills Garden|
• Dandelion roots can be roasted as a coffee-substitute, or boiled and stir-fried as a cooked vegetable.
• Dandelion flowers can be made into a wine.
Boiling them or stir frying them will further reduce their bitterness.
My musings: It makes sense that, at the end of winter, when our ancestors were probably hungry and vitamin deficient, that Nature would see to it that they had a great source of vitamins proliferating all around them! No one had to seed them or turn over the soil...the Dandelions appeared just for the picking!
And today we spend so much money just to make them go away....something is wrong here.
Just make sure to avoid harvesting near roads, since road salt and/or toxins may be present. Likewise, you obviously shouldn't harvest from a lawn where herbicides have been used.