Dandelions--Friend or Foe?

So I have an entire back yard FULL of dandelions. Since I’ve planted my first ever garden back there, I’m not too thrilled with the thought of having to weed dandelions forever. Additionally, I’ll admit, I’m downright embarrassed about the appearance of the backyard and also worried that it means dandelion hell for my neighbors. Seriously, how does one make themselves a target of the Dandelion Invaders? Why doesn’t my yard look like my neighbors? Oh yeah, I forgot. My mom used to tell me “if the grass is greener on the other side, it usually means it’s better cared for.” *grin*

My dilemma is that I don’t want to kill the grass nor do I want to propose a threat to “the girls” who go out there several times a day to relieve themselves. They are smaller dogs and thus close to the ground. Perhaps I’m being overly worrisome about the matter, but I wouldn’t be a good dog-mom if I wasn’t, would I? Anyway, I may have stumbled onto a solution after hours of research, but I’ve got to tell you, I never knew that I could get so much good out of dandelions! I thought that they were just one of those painful curses that God warned Adam and Eve about as he cast them out of the Garden of Eden. Hey, there’s a lot you can do with them. I found all kinds of recipes and tips and just had to share them with you guys!

You can make

Dandelion Lemonade

Dandelion Bread

Dandelion bread pudding with warm bacon dressing

One of my Facebook friends even told me about making jelly with them! Who knew!

Here I have an entire yard full of dandelions only to find out that folks are actually PAYING for these in the health food stores! Geesh. Have I been living under a rock or what? Mind you, the greens should be harvested before the flower on the plant blooms or else you’ll have a very bitter taste. As it turns out, the roots of the dandelion can also be eaten like any other root vegetable.. You’ll want  to be sure to select the bright, unblemished leaves for your mealtime feast in order to get the best flavor.

Come to find out the Romans, Gauls, Celts all ate dandelion weeds and even used them medicinally to make a tea to heal headaches, relieve stress and tension, etc. Believe it or not the Vitamin A content of a dandelion is greater than that in a carrot with 14,000 IU per 100 grams vs. carrots at 10,000 IU. Who knew they also provide Vitamin C, several B vitamins, as well as minerals such as calcium, copper and iron.  You all probably all knew this and just assumed I did, but seriously, my jaw is a droppin’ folks.

Dandelions have actually been proven in trials to enhance the liver function which makes it helpful for jaundice, hepatitis, gall stones and other liver conditions. It also promotes the healthy growth of bacteria in the intestines.Here's an article telling you how to store them:

How to Preserve Dandelion for Later Use

Here’s a litany of other health benefits for which they’ve been used.

Health Benefits of Dandelion

 

While I’m not a drinker, I hear it makes some pretty dang good wine. Some have even mastered the making of dandelion coffee—a viable solution for those of you who have just got to have the stuff, although it comes without the caffeine hit.

It can be use either fresh or dried (losing about 30 percent of it’s nutritional value),  The dried leaves can be stored just like dried herbs and will last easily for a year—longer if you keep it cool and dark.  Apparently, the best way to eat dandelion greens is to boil or steam them until just tender and garnish them with butter or lemon juice. The unopened blossoms can also be cooked as a tender vegetable.

Read more:

Mind you, you can’t use them from areas that have been sprayed with pesticides and such. But otherwise, here in the Northern Hemisphere one shouldn’t have any problem finding them in the spring and summer.

Huh. Who knew? Mind you, I’m not thrilled about them being in my garden, but perhaps I’ll have a different attitude in watching them grow in my back yard in the future.


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Comments

Got to love those Dandelion's! I say if you can't beat 'em, find out what they are good for and go with that! ;) I made Dandelion tincture last year and my teenage daughter has been using it every day for a few months now and says it has done wonders for cramps. It's great for the liver, super high in minerals! I'm glad to have dandelion around!

We use the greens in salads. My dad use to make dandelion stew. He always told us it would put hair on our chests, not really what his daughters wanted to hear--lol.

I don't worry about them much any more. I "save" them for the bees. It works for me.
M

It sounds to me like your garden is wildly successful. Few other plants have so many uses.

Joe

LOL..you ain't a kiddin'!

Now your only real dilemma is where you harvest.... and where the girls go! Oh yeah they are a good dye plant also.

...dandelions freeze well, too...I'm glad you've turned on to the many uses of dandelions - isn't nature cool? :)

Indeed! Who knew He would give to us soooo freely? It never ceases to amaze me.

Lemonade i've never heard of that. Lots of information wow :) better than a carrot and provides vitamins! No wonder were programed to kill them :/

Can't say that I am dying to try these ideas although I have heard of dandelion greens. Maybe I will have to share this with a friend who has an abundance of them appear, overnight it seems, in her front yard.

I am happy to say that I have been eating these "weeds" for years.....the fresh young leaves are full of vitamins....I also dig some up and chew on the root....even more vitamins here......just remember to scrap all of the brown outer skin off the root or it will be so bitter you cannot stand it.....and yes the flowers make very good wine!

We mix the dandelion greens into our salads (even if they are bitter, we just don't add as much and will usually put strawberries or something in the salad to make up for the bitterness of the dandelion greens, if they are picked after flowering). We have a large garden at another location - we have a good-sized garden here at the house, too - and the large garden area has LOTS of dandelions that are not treated in any way. Dandelion root can also be used to make a tea that is very good for you - good liver detox. Thanks for the recipes, Kellene. I am definitely going to check them out!

Now that's just great. ; S After millions read a post like this......there will never be a world free of dandelions. This summer will be even worse trying to get rid of those dang things. ; D Just teasing, I hope you know. But it would be nice if people we able to contain them in some way, so that they wouldn't over take my yard or garden. But with that being said......love the info you shared. I will have to try some of those ideas out.

Growing up, we added the dandelion greens to potato salad, yum!

And then there is the joy in watching a little boy pluck a dandelion and blow the seeds away......knowing the next bunch will follow. Who knew that when you become a grandparent your tolerance for "weeds" changes and it becomes a pleasure to see the world thru a child's eyes. Thanks for a fun post.

We keep a field of dandelions and oregano for our bees- they absolutely love it! They get the flowers and we get the greens :)We have always eaten dandelions and grow them indoors in the winter for salads and to have on sandwiches since they produce so well inside, even in the laundry room. Probably the easiest seed in the world to collect and grow (for free!)

Really!? Wow. A whole new world. I Love learning things like this!

I spent 2 hours pulling dandelions with a "Weed Hound" earlier this week.
I saved some of the tops for my pet rabbit and left the rest to wither and die before I add them to my composter. I don't want to spread them into my garden!

But looks like I'll have many more dandelions and the recipes you've shared will be fun to try. I empathize with worrying what the neighbors think, it crosses my mind every time I look at my yard, but I'm done with adding chemicals to the yard. That mown grass is headed for the compost and then the garden, I really don't want any more chemicals to end up in my food!

Have you ever made an indoor dandelion garden? Probably not cuz I just invented it this year. Easy peasy! Early in the spring or whenever, dig up 2 or 3 dandelions with an inch or so of root. Go for the little plants before they bloom. Rinse off the dirt and place in a shallow bowl (like a cereal bowl) and leave just a little-tsp. or 2 of water in the bowl to keep the roots moist. Refresh with a rinse every other day or so. Place on your kitchen window sill. Does not need to have direct sunlight. Within a few hours the the leaves will turn straight up and start growing. When you make your salad go to the"garden" and snip off the tips of the leaves and add them to the salad! It will last over a week, if you rinse the plants occasionally so the roots do not dry out.
Also, when the pioneers were expelled from Nauvoo in winter, the mothers dug under the snow and harvested dandelions and made soup to feed their children. One family, still honors their great-grandmother and makes the soup every spring to honor and remember her.
Dandelions are amazingly nutritious! Amen to all of the above, and thanks for all that has been shared!

I am definitely going to have to try one of these recipes. I have a whole field of "clean" dandelions.

Most taproots (incl. dandelions) are a sign of nitrogen deficiency, so if you want to get rid of them, you fertilize to add nitrogen. Personally, I'd just eat the things and be happy, but you can get rid of them with a simple N addition to your lawn. :) It won't kill them outright, but it will reduce their number significantly the following season.

YUMMY IS ALL I CAN SAY!!!

I have tried to like Dandelion....I really want to but the taste is way off the bitter chart. I tried getting leaves where there were no stems/buds.....what did i do wrong?

Don't feel bad. I keep trying to like beets and brussel sprouts and just can't seem to do it.

Actually, from what I

Actually, from what I understand, Dandelions are not native to the Americas and were brought by early settlers as an easy food source. :) Hooray for naturalizing food-stuffs.

My dad once told me the same

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My dad once told me the same thing. He said that the weeds we have here are all a result of being brought over from elsewhere, but I have no idea as to the veracity of that and it's not one that I care to research.

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