The Dandelion- Beauty, Love & Health


With Spring here, one of my favorite weeds starts going wild, the dandelion.  The pleasure I get from this...

...far outweighs my annoyance with the yellow flowers trying to take over my lawn. 

Yesterday afternoon, I got the sweetest knock on my office door.  I looked outside to see Christian (5) with a bouquet for me.

Like so many weeds & wildflowers, the smell of dandelions instantly brings me back to my childhood.  It makes me so happy to watch my boys enjoying the nature around them and having fun with plants & flowers & yes, of course, weeds.  Even the baby has fun with them...

{Louie, 11 months}

Christian made him a pile to play with and he loved throwing them around on the patio last night.

Justin (3) below, hanging out in my flip flops with a dandelion:

I'm not sure there's much that makes me happier than getting "flowers" from my little guys.  

Dandelions also have medicinal properties and can be eaten. 

Here's some info I found on the LeafLady about it:

"Suppose your doctor tells you, on your next visit, that he has just discovered a miracle drug which, when eaten as a part of   your daily diet or taken as a beverage, could, depending on the peculiarities of your body chemistry: prevent or cure liver diseases, such as hepatitis or jaundice; act as a tonic and gentle diuretic to purify your blood, cleanse your system, dissolve kidney stones, and otherwise improve gastro-intestinal health; assist in weight reduction; cleanse your skin and eliminate acne; improve your bowel function, working equally well to relieve both constipation and diarrhea; prevent or lower high blood pressure; prevent or cure anemia; lower your serum cholesterol by as much as half; eliminate or drastically reduce acid indigestion and gas buildup by cutting the heaviness of fatty foods; prevent or cure various forms of cancer; prevent or control diabetes mellitus; and, at the same time, have no negative side effects and selectively act on only what ails you. If he gave you a prescription for this miracle medicine, would you use it religiously at first to solve whatever the problem is and then consistently for preventative body maintenance?

All the above curative functions, and more, have been attributed to one plant known to everyone, Taraxacum officinale, which means the "Official Remedy for Disorders." We call it the common dandelion. It is so well respected, in fact, that it appears in the U.S. National Formulatory, and in the Pharmacopeias of Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, and the Soviet Union. It is one of the top 6 herbs in the Chinese herbal medicine chest.

According to the USDA Bulletin #8, "Composition of Foods" (Haytowitz and Matthews 1984), dandelions rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value." 

It can be drunk as a tea but at home, we eat the leaves in salads, which are really bitter and take some getting used to.  I can't explain it, but it's the type of food that you can really feel is having an impact on your digestion.  (Like mint tea or tomatoes.)  When I eat dandelion salad, I almost feel hungrier afterwards & feel like it's kicking my metabolism into gear.  (This is where my family usually rolls their eyes at me with the "That's just Lauren" crazy look, but I can honestly feel that it's good for my body.)  While the claims made on the LeafLady are pretty amazing and I'm sure it wouldn't work to that extreme for most people, I do strongly believe in dandelion's health benefits.

The first time I made it at dinner, my husband literally said "This is disgusting."  (...After all of the training of trying to get our kids to say, "I'm not really a fan of this" when they try a food they don't like.  Go daddy!! ;) 

But, I'm more of the "You'll get used to it" type of person, so I kept making it.  Now, he honestly loves it and it's almost weird.  It's definitely an acquired taste, so if you do try it, be ready to try it more than once.

Because it's so bitter, I HAVE to have our Maestranzi Oil & Vinegar dressing:
Fillipo Berio Olive Oil (a pretty good amount)
Balsamic Vinegar (only a little)
Salt & Pepper- more than you think... The mixture should taste salty
Onions- Sliced very thin so they get all sogged up with the dressing

Toss the dressing with the onions & let sit for at least 5 mins.  Then, toss in your dandelion greens and FOR REAL- let them sit for at least 30 mins, if not more, so that they really absorb the salty-oniony oil.  This takes out a lot of the bitterness.

If it doesn't sit a while, the salad will pretty much just be bad.

Then I add in any extras I'm in the mood for- shredded parmesan - ALWAYS
and then things like scallions or walnuts or tomatoes... or whatever else floats your boat.

{Image from Tammy's Kitchen with a recipe for dandelion salad -i haven't tried it- here}

...So, with all of this about picking & eating and loving dandelions, I'm off to work on a new textile design.  Wish me luck!!

Hope you have a great day and are enjoying Spring!!  Let me know if you have any good recipes for dandelion salad!!  (I tried one at a restaurant once with LEMON!! OMGoodness!!!!!)

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.


ArchitectDesign™ said...

My piano teacher as a child made all sorts of things from dandelions: dandelion wine, dandelion syrup (for waffles!), and salads of course. Just make sure you don't fertilize or treat your lawn -haha.

Jules said...

This is one of my favorite posts you've ever written. I feel the same way you do about dandies. Maybe because my granny used to make dandelion wine - I kid you not. Also? Louie is 11 months old?? And Christian? Is going to slay the ladies!

Anonymous said...

I love finding them in the markets here in France where we live and buy them for as long as they are being sold (which isn't very long in this climate but that makes them something to look forward to ;) )

There are two ways that I LOVE making them at the moment: quick sautéed in olive oil with shallots and chopped bacon pieces (that's the way the farmer we buy from taught me to prepare them).

And the other way, pesto! Just toss it in the food processor with pistachios or hazelnuts, olive oil, parmesan, garlic and some salt. This is AMAZING stirred into soup, on sandwiches, or the other night when we had it on pizza with artichokes, olives, goat cheese, and mozz... oh my goodness!! This recipe I got from Aran of Cannelle & Vanille's amazing new book. I've also made this tart of hers with dandelion instead of chard:

I've even tried a recipe for making a brilliant yellow jelly from the flowers. Try the pesto, though! You'll love it :)

- Abigail

Pam said...

I'm going to grab a bunch today!

Mrs Jones said...

I read somewhere that if you try something you don't like, 11 times, then you start to accept it. Not sure if there is any truth to it.

Almamira said...

Hi Lauren

I have tried the dandelion salad. I only chose the baby leaves. I had read they are less bitter and it's true. When my husband asked what the heck was that and I answered he said in jest: 'No wonder I feel so sick!' I felt like slapping him. Now I only put a few baby leaves mixed with other greens.

stephanie said...

I had no idea! thanks for sharing all the info. I have switched to almost a plant based diet and love to learn new options. said...

Dandelions are my favorite weed. You can also roast the roots to use as a healthier substitute for coffee. When they show up in my garden beds, wherever they land, I decide to leave them be - they get HUGE and people visiting my garden think I am NUTS. But I love them. Flowers are great in salads and add a little color too. :-)


Love this! I must try one of these. Knowing me I will love it. I'm with you, I usually like things that are good for me :)
Thank you for sharing Lauren


Vel Criste said...

Oh wow, I never knew you could eat these! Thank goodness my weedman has't come by yet and I may be able to try this out! Your boys gesture is super sweet and adorable. Glad you have this blog to look back to , these are the moments that make life SO WORTH LIVING TO THE FULLEST! CHEERS!

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Lauren that is so sweet, your little guys with the bouquet of dandelions.

Anonymous said...

my grandma makes dendelion syrup (we call it dendelion honey) and it's yummy! I haven't made it myself yet, but I think you just boil a huge pile of blossoms in water with sugar until it gets syrupy. It deffinitely gets a dendelion taste, it's not just sugar. You can throw in a pice of lemon too. If you are interested, I can get you the exact recipe.
Bara (from Czech Republic)

Anwar Fazil said...
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Kerry Steele- Design du Monde said...

I love dandelion salad. I am kind of afraid to have any here as I don't know what is on the grass. I love it with tons of garlic in the very early spring when they are still small.

María Blanco said...

Lovely pics *-*

Anna said...

Wow, love this post. Never knew I could eat dandelions. I think I will start cultivating them in a container. Your boys look sooooooooooooo adorable. Love that dandelion bouquet your son gave you.
So precious!

Diane Haynie said...

I hope the new textile design is dandelion related as they bring back wonderful childhood memories for me as well and I love the green and yellow color combo.

Debra Phillips said...

OMG, the boy are sooo grown! and quite handsome!!

Practical Suburban Mom said...

Ohhh, I love when my boys bring me flowers from the yard. Even when they're picking them from our containers. ;)

I am going to have to try dandelions!

Anonymous said...

I love, love dandelion salad! Great memories of eating it as a girl. My grandma made it with a vinagrette and I remember hard boiled eggs in it, too. Yum! And dandy bouquets from the little men ARE the best!

Jennifer C. Webb said...

hmmmm, need to get my little ones busy harvesting....lord knows we have plenty. Great idea.

SwissKat said...

And I just heard of these this week:

Dandelion Fritters!

muscle pain relief in Myanmar said...

it is really an interesting blog to read. thanks for sharing it with all. Dandelions salad,wine & syrup are really great.One can also roast the roots to use as a healthier
substitute for coffee. I feel great to read this blog.

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Lilac In May said...

Love the botanical print, I've never tried Dandelion leaves, I'll give it a go!

Be-Dest said...

Hi Lauren,
I am indeed amazed to find out that you are also familiar with our Aegean herb which we locally call 'Radika'... It is very common here for ages. We usually don't eat it raw though. There are two kinds of it,bitter and non-bitter. A mixture blends and tastes good.
All you have to do is to put the leaves in a boiling water with salt just a few minutes according to your like. Then strain it. Mix virgin oil, lemon juice and salt and add it to the leaves while hot. Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appetit in Turkish:)