Right now is the time, for a short time, to gather dandelion greens while these wild edible yard weeds are tender and delicious. Once the dandelion leaves get too overgrown, they just don’t taste as pleasing. This morning we gathered a bunch of dandelion greens. Most likely you will find these common edible yard weeds in your lawn, along your road, pasture, field or fence. If you live in the suburbs or city, it is worth growing dandelions in a container. They propagate very easily and they can be kept year round for trimming young leaves to add to salads. There are a few ways to cook dandelion greens and they can be eaten raw in salads too.
How To Cook Dandelion Greens
You can cook dandelion greens in several ways. They can be baked, sautéed, or blanched and chopped for cooking in dishes. Dandelion chips are delicious too. I will go into detail on all of these ways to cook dandelions below.
You can buy dandelion greens at some stores but they are not available everywhere. Here are a few tips for harvesting wide dandelion greens.
Tip: Your TRUE Common Dandelion is a saw-toothed leaf growing freely and abundantly. Most people can spot these by their very common yellow flower. If in doubt, Edible Wild Food has resources for identifying common dandelion.
Tip: Make sure you get the tender, small, young growth or it could be too bitter or tough for you taste buds. Be sure to avoid leaves or straw of other plants. And don’t pick where your greens are subject to frequent traffic by animals or humans.
Important Safety Tip: If you are gathering dandelion greens from a yard or field, be sure they were NOT sprayed with an herbicide or pesticide before you consume them. If you aren’t 100% sure, don’t risk it!
How To Make Dandelion Chips
Let’s talk about the wildly delicious baked dandelion chips you can make right now. Here is what to do:
1. Get some scissors and a bowl and go out to your field, lawn, or other spied spot of weedy heaven, and get to clipping! You want to fill up your bowl generously with small, fresh, tender leaves.
2. Wash your greens! Then soak in a weak solution of water sprinkled with salt for about 5 minutes. This is to help leach out strong bitter taste. Drain. Set aside.
3. Get a cookie sheet, line it with parchment paper.
4. Make a yummy dressing with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, herbs, salt and seasonings to your own liking or theme. Drizzle or dip lightly the greens with your dressing.
5. Place the dressed greens over the cookie sheet lined with the parchment paper. Put in the oven for 15 minutes on 350 degrees.
6. Take out of the oven, allow them to dry and cast them over a tray lined with paper towel.
7. REPEAT until you have a stack of Dandelion Chips.
Be careful though, the dandelion greens are very tempting and may never make it to the oven! Once drizzled with dressing they are delicious eaten as a raw salad!
Sautéed Dandelion Greens
Gather your young dandelion greens as directed above. Wash and soak in salted water for 5 minutes. Then you can pat them dry. Put a skillet over medium heat and warm some olive oil (about 1 tsbp). Add a clove of sliced garlic, stir and add your chopped dandelion greens. They will melt away quite a bit as they cook so you will have to gather more than you think to have a decent portion. Salt lightly and enjoy your Sautéed Dandelion Greens.
Prepare For Cooking In Dishes
Since dandelion greens are at their best for a short window in the spring, it is a good idea to gather up and prepare them for cooking in dishes later. After gathering, washing and soaking as in the first recipe, you can give your dandelions a hot bath for about 30 seconds to blanch them. Just dunk them in a pan of water that was just brought to a boil and turned off. Pour them into a colander to drain. When they have cooled enough, chop them and store them in ziploc freezer bags in your freezer so they will be ready to pull out and add to soups and casseroles.
I hope you enjoyed these tips for harvesting these wild edible yard weeds. Do you think you will use one of these methods to cook dandelion greens? Which one will you try first or will you go for the dandelion salad I described?