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While you may look upon dandelions in your yard as a pesky weed that must be destroyed, it’s actually an awesome food source you can forage from your own backyard! Try some of these incredible ways to use dandelions in your food storage and around the home.
30+ Incredible Ways to use Dandelions in Food Storage and more!
When to Harvest Dandelion
Dandelion is one plant that is nutritious from flower to root.
Root: These are best harvested in the late fall to early spring. The roots are then storing vital nutrients from the summer’s growth, or are sending out new tender shoots. (Get a harvesting tool like this one to help). They can be sliced for using like other root vegetables or dehydrated to make concoctions. If you have trouble getting access to dandelions that are safe, you can purchase dandelion roots here.
“For medicinal use, most sources say fall harvest is best. This is because the levels of inulin (insoluble fiber) are higher and the fructose levels are lower.” (SOURCE – Common Sense Homesteading)
Leaves: Harvest is best before the bloom sets. Once the plant has matured, you can use the older leaves in stir fries, or boil for 5 minutes (and then again with a change of water) to help remove the bitterness from the leaves.
Blossoms: Obviously when they’ve bloomed, but before the seed head sets.
As a side note: Please be sure to pick dandelions from sources you know do not contain harmful weed killing chemicals. Your neighbor may have an abundance in their yard that they are happy for you to forage and harvest from them, but be sure they haven’t sprayed chemicals to kill those weeds, or used a weed and seed fertilizer in their yard.
• READ MORE: DIY Natural, Homemade Weed Killer
Health Benefits of Dandelion
- Digestive Bitter: Aids in the secretion of digestive juices, and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, putting the body into a relaxed stated which is helpful with digestion.
- Alterative: Improves body’s health and function by increasing elimination of metabolic waste from skin, liver, kidneys, lymph, and bowels.
- Diuretic (Leaf): Promotes production of urine as well as water excretion.
- Cholagogue: Stimulates the gallbladder, aiding in the production of bile.
- Hepatic: Supports the liver.
- Anti-lithic: Prevent the formation of calculi or gravel (stones) in the urinary system
(SOURCE: HERBAL ACADEMY)
According to Fern and Fungi:
“The whole fresh plant from root to yellow flower can be washed and tinctured in alcohol to fully capture its vitamins and minerals (vitamins A, C, D, B complex, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, thiamine, riboflavin, beta-carotene, polysaccharides, tannins, inulin sugars, fibre…) and its ability to stimulate healthy liver and kidney function as well as digestion.”
Allergy Warning: Dandelion can cause allergic reactions when taken by mouth or applied to the skin of sensitive people. People who are allergic to ragweed and related plants (daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds) are likely to be allergic to dandelion. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking dandelion. (source)
Dandelions in the Kitchen
Jellies and Jams
Salads and Sides
- Dandelion Greens Salad
- Kentucky Dandelion Greens
- Dandelion & Pumpkin Seed Pesto .. and another pesto recipe
- Deep Fried Dandelion Flowers
- Dandelion Honey Butter
Oils and Infusions
- Dandelion wine
- Pink Dandelion wine
- Dandelion root tea
- Dandelion root coffee and another for root coffee
- Dandelion Schnapps
Breads & Sweets
- Dandelion Cookies
- Dandelion Bread
- Dandelion Muffins
- Dandelion Sourdough Pancakes with some Dandelion Syrup
- Dandelion Petal Sorbet
Dandelions around the Home
- Dandelion infusion for colds and congestion
- Dandelion Salve for pain & joint relief
- Simple Poultice for treating skin issues (just create a powder from dried dandelion root, then mix with water to make a paste. Follow the instructions on how to use it)
- Spring Detoxymel
- Dandelion Lotion Bars
- Dandelion & Coconut Oil Moisturizer
- Dandelion Shampoo Bar
- Dandelion Bath Bombs
- Dandelion Dye – for dying fabrics, yarns and soaps
In the Garden
- Liquid Fertilizer
- Compost – toss unused stems and leaves into the compost pile. You can also toss in used roots (as in those that you created infusions and teas from). Fresh roots and seed heads may thrive in a composted environment, and while we love dandelions for their uses, the compost pile may not be the place to grow them 😉
Supplements: If you don’t have dandelions in a safe foraging environment, here are ways you can add the healthy benefits of dandelions to your everyday diet:
Tools for harvesting dandelions
Books on Dandelions & other homemade recipes
Comment: Do you have ways to use dandelions not listed here? I’d love to know how you use this pesky ‘weed’ in your food storage and home! Just leave a comment below!