Not just a Weed – Dandelions

 Yes, the Dandelions in your yard everyone hates so much. Those weeds are what I’m talking about today. It’s been coming up more and more in discussion with a group of friends of mine so I thought others may want to know the pretty interesting information about this plant.
Some quick facts about the Dandelions
 Their deep roots (taproot) draw up nutrients from a different level than your lawn which means they are not in competition with grasses or other shallow root plants.
 The roots act like a recycle plant, drawing up minerals including calcium depositing them near the top of the soil restoring much needed nutrients. While I wouldn’t plant these next to my tomatoes plants as they can “hinder” some other plants from growing tall and robust, they would be perfect to plant before your summer garden. Plant Dandelions in between your garden seasons this way your soil is improved for better planting.
 – Worms are drawn to the roots
-They help other flowers grow and stimulate fruits to mature faster.
The leaves and flowers are edible and the roots can be used as a coffee substitute, as well as a blood cleaning tea.

They are a great source of calcium- almost as much as a half a glass of milk alone. They also contain a great source of Potassium, Vitamin A , C and D as well Iron and Zincs

 -Herbalists use different parts of the Dandelion for different uses, some include, a diuretic, increasing the amount of urine the body produces. The leaves are also used to help aid digestion. The flower is known to have some antioxidant properties and can help improve the immune system. There isn’t a “on going” study for these plants, but they have long been used for generations. Native Indians have used this plant for all sorts of problems including gallbladder infections, liver troubles, upset stomachs even heart burn.

Eating the Dandelion Facts-

Do NOT pick the Dandelions from a yard that’s been treated in anyway. The best place to pick this plant? In the wide open fields. Grab your sneakers and head outside for a hike to find yourself some wild Dandelions. Unless you grow them yourself for eating purposes this is the safest way to gather fresh, edible Dandelion greens. While you are out there collect the Dandelions seeds so you can grow some at home.

Wash them carefully

These leaves can be eaten raw, they do not require long cooking times like other leafy greens (kale, or collards) They are called “braising greens” for their quick cooking time. You can sauté both the greens and flowers to add to any dish. The Flowers can also be made into jelly! They make a wonderful yellow dye as well.

Best time to pick the greens to eat is before the yellow flower comes up, first signs of spring you should find the best quality Dandelions.

 Still think these Dandelions are just an annoying weed? Check back for some recipes I’m using with these pretty amazing everyday greens, but in the mean time – Think twice before trying to kill these helpful plants 🙂

Here’s a recipe I used with Dandelions 🙂

 

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