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Eat your dandelions!

While most people see dandelions as a nuisance, here at Motherlove we have a lot of respect for this humble plant and its many uses.

The entire dandelion plant is edible, and it’s higher than most foods in vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin A.  It has a number of medicinal uses, too.

Motherlove founder Kathryn Higgins writes, in her Pocket Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants, “This recognizable plant is so beneficial that I don’t understand where it got its bad reputation.  Instead of eradicating this useful plant we should all be enjoying its beauty and many uses.”

She recalls:  “I started giving wild edible plant identification classes in 1985 on our land in Rist Canyon.  After class I fed everyone a meal made with the plants that we had previously identified.  The main course was nettle lasagna, along with a wild weed salad of lambsquarter and dandelion leaves.  To this I added sheep sorrel for a lemony taste and bull thistle.  Peeled thistle stalk makes a great substitute for celery. Side dishes were dandelion pickles, the wonderful dandelion muffins, and drinks of cold nettle lemonade and hot roasted dandelion root tea.  The children helped me with the gathering and making dandelion muffins- picking the open flower heads and pulling out the beautiful yellow fluff.”

See below for her recipe for Dandelion Muffins!

Here are some of the many ways you can use the dandelions in your yard:

Edible uses:*

  • Before the plant blooms eat the young greens in salad or steamed.
  • Pickle or steam the unopened buds.
  • Add flower petals to flours and batters, and make them into tea, wine, beer, and syrup.
  • Soak small pieces of the flower stalk in equal parts of water and vinegar overnight for pickles.
  • Dry the root and roast in a slow oven until brown (about 4 hours), grind, simmer 10 minutes for a drink some liken to coffee with no caffeine.
  • Eat the boiled roots as a vegetable.

Medicinal uses:*

  • Dandelion leaf tea is a good diuretic for fluid retention and to eliminate toxins and constipation.
  • The flower oil is good for a stiff neck, skin sores, and back tension.
  • Splash the tea on skin to heal chapped or windburned areas, age spots, large pores, and wrinkles.
  • Dandelion root is an excellent liver and stomach herb to treat liver congestion, to increase bile production, and help weak digestion.
  • The root tea or tincture is recommended for jaundice, anemia, and skin blemishes.
  • Use as a poultice on breast tenderness, cysts, or plugged milk ducts.
  • Juice from the stem clears up warts.

Kathryn’s recipe for Dandelion Muffins:

Mix in bowl:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cups clipped dandelion flowers.  Mix the dandelion flowers to into the flour with your hands separating the bigger clumps of petals.

Mix in another bowl:

  • 1/4 cups oil
  • 4 T honey
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

Combine dry and liquid ingredients.  Stir to moisten- it should be lumpy. Spoon into oiled muffin tins.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

*Of course, be sure that your dandelions haven’t been chemically sprayed!