05 June 2014
How can you not love dandelion? Friendly and familiar and so very versatile, those cheerful yellow flower heads practically beg “come on, pick me!” This time of year, dandelion is abundant and offers so much nourishment, I’m constantly harvesting her leaves and flowers for my salads.
I enjoy the tangy bite of her flavor, but I do realize that some of you may find her taste rather bitter. While the Western palate isn’t attuned to bitter elements (with the exception of coffee, which we often adjust with sweeteners and dairy), Chinese medicine recognizes the value of bitters in good digestive health and includes them in a well-balanced diet.
Dandelion leaves are an acquired taste, but one that’s worth developing. They contain so many easily absorbed nutrients: vitamins A to D, calcium, potassium, iron…the list goes on and on. This wholesome, free food benefits the blood, stomach, liver and kidneys. It’s also a wonderful ally for breastfeeding mothers.
One easy way to integrate dandelion leaves into your menu is a favorite snack of mine from Healing Wise: Dandelion Dip. I wash, dry and finely chop a cup of dandelion greens and mix them with a cup of yogurt cheese, goat cheese or cream cheese. Stir till well blended (or use a blender). Season to taste with minced garlic or garlic powder and salt. Voila! It’s that easy.
It's delicious on pita points, as a dip for vegetables (yummy with carrots!) or, if you’re like me, by the spoonful. I’ve come to crave this combination of salt and garlic with the bite of the greens and the slightly sour taste of the yogurt. It’s crisp and refreshing. Even kids will enjoy eating their dandelion greens when presented with this creamy concoction. It seems like a party!
And there’s reason to celebrate. Dandelion is a good friend to have—one of the most readily available and nutritionally generous of wild edibles. She’s a perfect example of how the Wise Woman can use food as medicine; providing our bodies with deep nourishment. Once dandelion has been properly introduced and you get used to her character, you’ll find all sorts of ways to invite her to your table. I mean…really…how can you not love dandelion?