Sharing a lifetime's passion for herbs

DANDELIONS – A HERB?

dreamstime_m_5228928Dandelions …. A Herb ?  Not on my patch!

So OK …. this is going to be a bit of a hard sell!  I see all of the effort and expense that many homeowners and gardeners put into ridding their lawns of this unsightly weed. Their persistence to stop it flowering and spreading thousands of parachutes carrying a seed is worthy of a medal.

But honestly, dandelions really have got a reputation from the gardening community as being thugs but is that true?

For sure, they can ruin the appearance of a manicured lawn! They multiply faster than rabbits with their eye on dreamstime_m_18813178the survival of their species … as if that was ever in doubt!

A true survivalist, dandelions seem to allow the lawn mower to pass straight over them. Next day after the mowing is done and dusted, they’ve perked up and it looks as though you haven’t cut the grass for weeks.  More than that, if you do pull them out and leave the tiniest bit of root behind, it may take time, but it WILL grow into a new dandelion plant … nay, a Triffid!

What’s more, dandelion roots produce a chemical which is toxic to other plants and stops their root development dreamstime_m_56137529 (1)so each dandelion has a patch all to itself so that it doesn’t have to compete for food and water ….

But hey, you may not score many points with neighbours but there are a few benefits associated with having a supply of edible dandelion weeds growing in your own patch.

Enjoying Edible Dandelion Greens

Dandelion Greens are the young leaves that this plant produces so prolifically but can be used sparingly in salads in sandwiches and anywhere else you can think of.  They are chock full of vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as minerals, such as iron, potassium, and zinc.

We may scoff at this … (I personally find them far too bitter) but it has been commonplace when “salads” came from the fields, to use them as nutritious food stuff.

Then there’s the roots! Dandelion roots are often chopped and roasted to create a healthy coffee-like, hot beverage. Seriously, it tastes good. There’s also a beverage Dandelion and Burdock made using the roots that was originally introduced way back in the 60’s (1960’s!) to compete against a certain Cola!!

So it seems like most parts of this dreaded weed is actually useful and edible, but the usual warnings apply:

  • BE ABSOLUTELY certain of the identification of any wild plant before you use it,
  • ALERT to allergies and food sensitivities that you or others may have to a particular edible weed or wild plant.
  • NEVER harvest edible plants from areas that may have been exposed to pollution or chemical sprays.

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