Winter provides us with no shortage of hearty, leafy greens in Central Texas. Many act as natural detoxes and are packed with vitamins, calcium, and iron; all things our bodies crave during darker and colder months. Although many view dandelions as pesky and invasive weeds, their greens have been eaten and used for a variety of medicinal purposes throughout human history. We have the early colonists to thank for the dandelion’s presence in the U.S., as they recognized the value of the plant and intentionally brought it here from Europe. The name dandelion is derived from the French dent de lion, meaning tooth of the lion, because of its jagged and tooth-like edges. It is an incredibly resilient plant and is therefore prime for growth in a variety of climates across all continents.
Bitter greens aren’t everyone’s thing, but dandelions are easily rendered mild if blanched in salted water for a few minutes. You’ll be left with a soft, leafy green ready to be added to wintry soups and stews. They also lend dishes a foraged quality that is ideal for impressing dinner companions. Dandelion greens can be challenging to find in an ordinary supermarket; luckily our friends at Johnson’s Backyard Garden have an abundance of dandelion greens this time of year. Check out their website and find a market nearby! You can also pick dandelion greens right in your own backyard. This tutorial will show you what you need to know to about harvesting these greens in the wild.
Here are a few of our favorite dandelion-centered recipes:
- Love & Lemons Toast with Radishes and Dandelion Greens
- Yummy Supper Chickpeas + Dandelion Greens
- Nourished Kitchen Wilted Dandelion Greens with Toasted Mustard Seed
- David Lebovitz Dandelion Pesto
Photo courtesy of Nourished Kitchen
Written by Ann Stoker, Blog Contributor, Johnson's Backyard Garden