Dandelions are a joy to see in spring. One of the first flowers to bloom, they brighten the dreary landscape with a burst of sunny color. They are a miraculously adapted plant and can produce flowers without pollination. They also can grow as short or as tall as necessary, depending on the surrounding vegetation.

Herbalist know them as a liver tonic. The roots can be dug in the spring, unlike most root herbs that are harvested in the fall. A tea or tincture of the roots will stimulate the liver as well as cleanse toxins from the blood. It is an excellent digestive remedy, considered good for the gall bladder, intestines, stomach, pancreas and kidneys.

Dandelion roots - spring 2014

Dandelion roots – spring 2014

The leaves are delicious as a fresh green. The young leaves have less bitterness. Bitter herbs stimulate digestion and help with assimilation of nutrients.

The leaves are also have a diuretic effect that helps clear toxins and eliminate water build-up. They are considered at least as effective, if not more so, as OTC diuretics and you don’t need to take a potassium supplement. Nature has already given Dandelions the potassium needed by our bodies. Their high levels of potassium also make them a good remedy for leg cramps and muscle aches.

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Fried Dandelion Flowers are easy to make and yummy to eat. They are a nice addition to a salad of wild greens and lettuce or just as a snack. Use only the flower head – remove the stem and green parts underneath or they might be a little bitter. Also, pick the flowers moments before you’re going to cook them or they will fold up like they do at night. To get rid of creepy crawlies that might be in them, you can wash them in a little salt water, rinse them in clear water and pat dry prior to cooking.

Heat about 1/4 cup of butter in an iron skillet. Combine a cup of flour or meal and salt/pepper to taste in a shallow dish. Beat 2 eggs in another bowl and add 40 or so large flower heads. Scoop out about half the flowers (20) and allow the egg to drain a bit, then add them to the flour mixture to coat completely. Carefully place, individually, each flower into the frying pan and cook for 3 – 5 minutes, each side, until golden brown. Let them drain on paper towel before serving. Repeat with second half of flowers.

You can get creative with the flour/meal mixture by adding oregano, thyme, rosemary, garlic, cayenne or other herbs to it for different flavors.

Why would anyone NOT want to have these growing in their yard? Free medicine and healthy food!

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