Eat the Weeds: The Magnificent Dandelion(Taraxacum spp.)
I am loathe to call these incredible plants “weeds,” but weeds they are in the eyes of most. I use them as salad greens, but the flowers can be made into wine and soft drinks, and the roasted roots make a caramel-like a coffee substitute. Parts of the plant can also be used for natural yellow and green dyes.
The plant itself is a dynamic accumulator and producer or an array of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients (vitamins A, C and K, and calcium, potassium, iron and manganese).
This sunshine-yellow flower attracts pollinators to the garden, grows in a wide variety of circumstances, and with a long taproot cycles deeply-buried soil nutrients to the surface (a so-called “fountain plant”). Numerous species of butterfly rely on it for sustenance during various stages of their life cycles.
Various dandelion extracts are being researched as cancer medicines, as all parts of the plant contain a number of pharmacologically-active compounds. Long used in folk medicine as a tonic for the blood, liver, and gall bladder, dandelions have a mild diuretic and laxative effect on the system: it is a registered drug in Canada for this reason.
Dandelions are among my favourite plants, and if they weren’t already so abundant, I would plant them! If you can find them in a place that is not plagued by runoff or sprayed with pesticides, I’d highly recommend you explore their culinary and medicinal potential.
More: “A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.”
#foraging #dandelions #superfoods #health