| |

Don’t Mow Them Down! Dandelions: The Superfood Hiding in Your Lawn

Dandelion Leaves

Those bright yellow suns dotting your yard aren’t just weeds—they’re a delicious and nutritious powerhouse! Dandelions, with their lacy leaves and cheerful blooms, are a surprisingly versatile superfood.

More Than Just a Weed

Dandelions are a super leafy vegetable we cannot ignore. They are part of the variety of leafy vegetables and herbs that help us stay healthy. During the seasons of Spring, Summer, and Fall, many types of leafy vegetables are available at supermarkets and farmers’ markets. We often navigate towards the darker leafy vegetables with the hope that they have an abundance of health benefits. There is no doubt that there are a lot of leafy vegetables and herbs to help us stay healthy. But do we know all of them? Or better yet, can we pronounce all of their names?

Dandelion Leaves

What is Dandelion

The name Dandelion sounds like a character from a children’s book. It could even be part of Narnia—I’m just joking. Dandelion is sold in the same section as leafy green vegetables. Because of its usage, it is categorized as both a flower and an herb. Its properties and usage are very beneficial.

Dandelion Leaves

Dandelion, pronounced dan·duh·lai·uhn, is a highly nutritious flowering plant family that grows in many parts of the world. The French translation is dent-de-lion, meaning lion’s tooth. That definitely should be related to children’s books!

Dandelion flower
Dandelion flower

Dandelion Powerhouse

On a serious note, Dandelion is full of antioxidants with great health benefits. It is an excellent source of several vitamins such as A, B, C, E, and K. It contains a substantial amount of iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Webmd.com, the website states that Dandelion is used for loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones, joint pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises. Dandelion is also used to increase urine production and as a laxative to increase bowel movements. It is also used as a skin toner, blood tonic, and digestive tonic. This definitely makes Dandelion an important herb to know about.

Where to Find This Super Leafy Vegetable

Dandelion can be found in several supermarkets and farmers’ markets. It is sold both fresh, frozen, and dried. Surprisingly, you can even find it in your own vegetable garden if you want to cultivate it with your other veggies. Dandelion tea is often sold as a detox tea. The taste can be a bit strong for some people. Many people drink it straight, and others with a tiny pinch of salt or sugar.

Dandelion Leaves
Dandelion Leaves

From Lawn to Lunch

The best part? You can harvest dandelions right from your own yard! Just make sure they’re growing in an area free of pesticides or herbicides. Look for young, tender leaves – the older ones can be a bit bitter.

Dandelion Delights: How to Use Them

Dandelion is mostly added to salad. But you can also add it to vegetable stews. It is mildly bitter and with other ingredients, it makes an excellent addition to any side dishes or plant-based meals.

There are endless ways to incorporate dandelions into your diet. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Salads: Dandelion greens add a peppery bite to your salad. Try mixing them with milder lettuces and a citrusy vinaigrette to balance the flavor.
  • Sautéed Greens: Sauteing dandelions with garlic and olive oil is a simple and delicious way to enjoy them as a side dish.
  • Soups and Stews: Toss dandelion greens into your next pot of soup or stew for an extra nutrient boost.
  • Beyond the Leaves: Don’t forget the dandelion flowers! The petals can be used to make dandelion wine or jelly, and the roots can be roasted and enjoyed as a coffee substitute.

Can you add Dandelion to Haitian Legume (legim)?

Absolutely! More natural vitamins are always good. You can also add it to any vegetable stews and even Haitian Bouillon. For Haitian legumes, just remember to use a light hand, as dandelion can be slightly bitter. The perfect way to tone down the dandelion’s flavor is by adding spinach or watercress, two other nutrient-rich leafy greens that complement Haitian legumes beautifully.

Recipe ideas

Final Thoughts

Before you start harvesting dandelions, be sure to identify them correctly. There are a few look-a-likes that can be harmful, so if you’re unsure, it’s always best to consult a field guide or do a quick online search for dandelion identification tips. Don’t forget to consult your doctor as well.

So next time you see a dandelion, don’t reach for the weedkiller! Embrace this delightful superfood and add a touch of sunshine to your plate.

Sources

Originally published on June 19, 2019. Revised and updated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.