** If there is one thing I must convey here is that if you are unsure of what you are touching or going to consume DO NOT ** get the correct books or do the research before you venture out. As in most cases a very small nibble or portion could/can kill you. **
How many times have you ever stepped upon or over these little deserving plants that taste so delicious and are ever so nutritional…with multiple uses.
We make digging sticks for easy retrieval of dandelions. I like the stick to be about 1” in diameter and maybe a foot long if not a bit more. Sharpen one end and there you go
We all know what dandelions look like so I did not take a picture of the flower. They are those annoying plants that seem to infest our yards and the likes. We all know them by the yellow flower and the arrow shaped leaves. Thankfully there are no poisonous look-a-likes for this species of plant. The meaning of the plant in French is “Lions Tooth”. This plant also has many medicinal uses, even though I will avoid discussion of them for our topic. Oddly this plant was imported into our country as a food crop. I like the yellow flowering tops (check for bugs first) and the roots
Chicory and wild lettuce also resemble dandelions in the spring and are also edible. The milky sap can be used as a improvised glue of sorts? It has been proven effective in removing warts, soothing sores and bee stings and blisters for some. The flowers are used in home made wines as well. Picking these before the flower’s blossom results in the best tasting plants.
Younger ones (plants) may not have the arrow shaped definition just yet. These I feel are somewhat tastier in my opinion. These leaves are excellent added to salads. Just try to get them before the yellow flower develops or otherwise they can be bitter tasting. Or you can boil them a couple of times in the summer and fall to improve their taste as well. The leaves have a higher nutritional value than any commercially produced vegetable one can buy. Just make sure you harvest them away from roadsides or known places where one uses pesticides.
The young leaves may go into a salad for lunch. On the mature ones I will only use the roots, I use all the roots from the others for either boiling or a coffee alternative. The roots if found are edible all year long. The roots are OK tasting boiled.
You can boil them to improve their taste if so desired, kind of reminds me of spinach.
I prefer to use just the roots as a coffee substitute.
To make the coffee substitute you first roast the roots in a tin foil hat with a small vent hole. Grind them afterwards. You than steep them over water and there you have your coffee substitute. Its really tasty and one of my favorites.
I even read somewhere once that the root of goats beard can also be roasted and ground to make a coffee substitute. Goat’s Beard resembles a dandelion head when the white seeds are blossoming except it has holes in the pattern like a waffle ball effect. In my area they are not very common, but felt it was mentioning.
So the next time you have these removed, at least enjoy the fruit of your labor. It actually tastes a bit like someone added a hint of tea to my coffee. make a salad too, Different but unique to say the least, so give it a try!