Another restaurant experience introduced me to the flowers. Battered and
fried, they reminded me of mushrooms.
They even had the smooth texture of a
mushroom prepared that way. You can
also use the flowers to make wine, jelly,
And in the herbal books, dandelion
roots, dried, roasted, and then grated
make a reasonable coffee substitute—
without the caffeine.
Dandelions are rich in protein, Vitamins
A and C, as well as iron and calcium.
Historically, dandelion was thought of
as a chief herb, not a weed, because of
its nutritional value as well as abilities to
treat a wide variety of ailments. Have an
unsightly wart? Squeeze the white juice
from the stem on it daily until it goes
away. Feel generally under the weather?
Dandelion greens are said to cleanse the
liver and detoxify the body.
In addition, dandelions are thought to
cure or alleviate: blemishes (in a tincture), constipation (greens), heart troubles (tea made with dried leaves), act as a
diuretic (tea or salad), and calm nervous
people (tea with leaves and flowers).
So why did the dandelion go from the
king of herbs to the bane of the American lawn? Simply put, it has deep and
hardy roots. The plant can regrow from
the smallest portion of a root, as any
lawn aficionado can tell you. But if you’re
nurturing a patch of dandelions for food,
this works out well as you can repeatedly
harvest the same plant over the course of
a growing season.
Come fall, dig up any roots you want
to turn into the coffee-like brew or a
tincture, and then start the process
all over again in the spring when
the new shoots come up.
These are just a few of the edible
weeds out there. You might be
surprised at all the health benefits
growing wild and free, waiting for
you just past the edge of your lawn.
Susan Lyttek, author of
four novels, award-winning
writer, wife and mother to
two homeschool graduates,
writes in time snippets and
on random pieces of scratch paper. She also
enjoys training up the next generation of
writers by coaching middle and high school