Friday, September 4, 2009

Plant of the Week: Dandelions?

I was working on a client's garden the other day and remembered that those pesky dandelions riddling the yard with their long taproots are not just weeds... they're food! If you don't believe me, check this out. This is also a lovely post about their virtues. You absolutely must make sure that you're harvesting from an area that is free of pesticides and other ickies, but by all means cook up a fancy, foraged side-dish!

If you're interested in growing dandelions in your garden, you may be hard pressed to find seed for purchase. You won't have any trouble finding the little buggers in your yard or neighborhood, though! And please, make sure you cut the flowers off before they go to seed in your garden. This will help prevent an infestation in the next year and apparently, the flowers can be made into jelly! As you well know, dandelions will grow just about anywhere so I wouldn't worry about growing conditions or care. I would recommend growing them in part shade so they don't flower right away (in other words, treat like lettuce you are trying to prevent from "bolting"). Harvest in the spring before the leaves become too bitter.

This recipe is quite tasty, although I might add a few red pepper flakes. It's quite an interesting contrast to the undesirable connotations of weeds in the lawn!

UPDATE: From my Grandma:
"Dandelions was the only salad I knew about 80 years ago. Dad and I would go down to the park and pick dandelions and mom would just put vinegar and sugar on them. We didn't know about "salads" until much later. There is a picture in the family room of dad and I collecting dandelions."


  1. Nice. I've always meant to try them. I'd be nervous about eating dandelions in most lawns, though. Can't tell what chemicals people put in them when you're not around.

  2. Yes, a very good point. Personally, I'd probably only harvest dandelions in my own yard, but more intrepid folks should make double and triple sure their greens have not been in contact with any chemical fertilizers or pesticides!