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Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Yard Chronicles: Time To Eat Some Dandelions



Dandelions

All parts of the dandelion are edible and have medicinal and culinary uses. It has long been used as a liver tonic and diuretic. In addition, the roots contain inulin and levulin, starchlike substances that may help balance blood sugar, as well as bitter taraxacin, which stimulates digestion. Dandelion roots can be harvested during any frost-free period of the year and eaten raw, steamed, or even dried, roasted and ground into a coffee substitute.

The flowers are best known for their use in dandelion wine, but they also can be added to a salad, made into jellies or dipped in batter to make dandelion fritters. The leaves are rich in potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C. Dandelion greens can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, sautéed or braised. For use in salads, greens should be harvested from new plants while still small and tender, before the first flower emerges. Larger greens tend to be tougher and more bitter, and better suited for cooking.


It used to be referred to as a "common herb" and was used for medicinal properties. The dandelion is rich in nutrients including protein, calcium, iron, Vitamins A & C. Dandelions are good for digestion and may ease rheumatism or liver problems. They can be eaten whole or divided up. Young dandelion greens can be tossed in salads and young leaves can be cooked like spinach. Leaves should be gathered before the plant blooms as they will become increasingly bitter and tough.

Dandelion Root(Taraxacum officinale) used in medicines and the leaves are not medically used. The chief constituents of Dandelion root are Taraxacin, acrystalline, bitter substance, of which the yield varies in roots collected at different seasons, and Taraxacerin, an acrid resin, with Inulin (a sort of sugar which replaces starch in many of the Dandelion family,Compositae), gluten, gum and potash. Dandelion Root provides vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin B complex, as well as zinc, iron and potassium. Because of its iron content, it is widely used as a remedy for liver ailments, and has a diuretic effect that can help rid the liver of toxins.

The quintessential garden and lawn weed, dandelions have a bad reputation among those who want grass that looks as uniform as a golf course, but every part of this common edible weed is tasty both raw and cooked, from the roots to the blossoms.Dandelion leaves can be harvested at any point in the growing season, and while the smaller leaves are considered to be less bitter and more palatable raw, the bigger leaves can be eaten as well, especially as an addition to a green salad. If raw dandelion leaves don't appeal to you, they can also be steamed or added to a stir-fry or soup, which can make them taste less bitter. The flowers are sweet and crunchy, and can be eaten raw, or breaded and fried, or even used to make dandelion wine. The root of the dandelion can be dried and roasted and used as a coffee substitute, or added to any recipe that calls for root vegetables.

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Eric Dempsey
Master Sergeant, U.S. Army Retired
NASM Certified Personal Trainer & Weight Loss Specialist
Graduate Student In Exercise Science At Cal U.
Dempsey’s Resolution Fitness
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