|Written by Lynnp|
Many people have never eaten dandelion greens. That's a shame, because they are delicious, easy to cook and adapt well to mixing with most other vegetables and meats.
Dandelions steam or boil quickly to produce a mild, sometimes slightly bitter green. The literature on dandelions, however, state that the bitterness in this green is very good for us as it serves as a gall bladder and liver cleanser. The younger the dandelion green, however, the milder they are, so time of picking is important, depending on what you like. Even once the plant has become a bit bitter, however, you can change cooking waters once or twice and still have a mild green. They are not only tasty, they are very tender.
Dandelions spread easily, self-seed and do not ask for much when it comes to care. Left to their own devices, they will produce plants around 5' or more tall. They will have yellow flowers on them which turn into the well-known "puff-ball" which is carried by the wind to the rest of your yard and the whole neighborhood.
Size can be managed by cutting off the tops. The leaves can be harvested with a knife or pair of sissors. They will continue to produce leaves of various sizes throughout the life of the plant. With constant reseeding, however, you will always have a fresh crop from which to choose.
Dandelion's roots can be roasted for a coffee substitute. The yellow flowers can be battered and fried like small fritters. Although the stem is edible, it is reported that they are too bitter to eat. Which is a shame, because there is a lot of stem on one plant.
Try the steps here to get your dandelion garden going now.
1. Purchase bulk dandelion seeds from any online or local seed store. You can get about 2,000 seeds for under $5.00.
2. Sprinkle seeds in the area you wish them to grow. You do not need to prepare the ground.
3. Drag a rake around over the seeds to disperse them and provide more soil contact.
4. Water a few times in the first few days, or plant when the rain is keeping the soil moist.
5. Harvest at any time after the leaves are about 5" long or more. Wash thoroughly in a sink full of water with a few drops of dish detergent.
6. Steam or boil for about 20 minutes. Serve with butter, hot sauce, vinegar or in soups and stews. They are also very good in salad using the smaller leaves.
7. Dandelion flowers can be battered and fried. The roots can be roasted and ground for a coffee substitute.
8. Find more information online related to varieties and growth patterns.