Project Cooking With Wild Ingredients: Dandelion

Dandelion, we probably all know this flower. It is widely spread around the world and it literally grows everywhere. As a kid I always tried to blow the seeds off the puffy flower heads. When I managed to blow them all off in one breath, I was allowed to make a wish. I cannot remember if I ever managed or if any wish came true.

Dandelion

Nowadays, most people see dandelions as a weed but they actually have been gathered by humans since prehistoric times. Why? Because the whole flower is edible. The flower, the leaves and the root, you can eat it all. And it is not only just edible, it is also super healthy!

Dandelions are rich in minerals, vitamins, fibers and even protein. They contain vitamin A, B, C, D, K and minerals like potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus. Quite a list right? They are known to have health benefits for the liver, bowel function, kidneys, blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation, immune system and much more. All the reason to pick them!

When you pick the leaves you want to aim for the young leaves, preferably from dandelions that did not flower yet. The bigger older leaves are bitter. Also, pick them at a place where no one used pesticides, fertilizers and where no one walked their dog. Spring is a great time to pick them.

You can use the roots to make dandelion coffee. The leaves and flowers you can use in salads for example. If you do not know what to do with them, here is a little inspiration.

Bitter Sweet Flower Salad with Dandelions and Daisies

Ingredients for a two person side salad:

  • 1 handful of dandelion leavesDandelion salad ingredients
  • 2 hands of peas
  • 1 small hand of sunflower seeds
  • 1 handful of daisies
  • 50g goatcheese (honey flavored if you like)
  • 4 or 5 big strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt and pepper

Wash the leaves and the flowers first and dry them on a (clean) tea towel. If you want, you can blanch the leaves to remove some bitterness. I did not do that because I wanted the leaves to stay crispy. Cook the peas in some water until they are done. I will take about six minutes.

In the meanwhile, you can start making the dressing. Put the olive oil, the lemon juice and the honey in a small bowl and add a little bit of salt and ground pepper. Mix everything together. Cut the strawberries into slices.  You are ready to build your salad now. Do this the way you like. Keep in mind that you only want to use the yellow bits of the dandelion flowers. The flowers of the daisies you can eat whole. Enjoy!

Tip: if you think that dandelion leaves alone are too bitter, you can also mix them with lettuce!

dandelion salad2

Project ‘Cooking With Wild Ingredients’ is a part of On My Way To Freedomland as an inspiration to bring us closer to earth again. In order to grow, we first need strong roots. Many aspects of modern society are clouding our relationship with nature and are cutting us from the connection with earth.

Without our roots we are floating, lost and stuck with a feeling that we are not in charge of our own lives. It leaves us insecure because we are afraid to fall. But knowing that there is always an earth to rely on can take these fears away and can make you feel safe and confident again. No matter what choice in life you make, there is always an earth to fall back to. Earth is always providing and is just like for plants, it is also the soil for your roots.

Once you feel this relationship again, you will realize that most of your fears are actally based on nothing and you will find more strength to create the life you want. Finding and making your own food, directly from nature can help to restore your relationship with the earth and besides that, food always tastes better if you have picked the ingredients yourself! It is super organic!  

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