Dandelions

Dandelions are incredibly healthy and incredibly cheap. Free actually. Right in your front yard. 

You can’t tell by the weather lately, but spring is on the way. With spring brings more snow and the green starts to show. 

The few weeks where Sheridan is green is something I always look forward to. The rolling hills between Sheridan and Buffalo look like something out of an Ireland postcard.

And then it’s back to its usual dull brown color. Luckily, dandelions are more at home in our yards than in the rolling hills, so you should have no problem finding them for more than two weeks.

Dandelion leaves have a flair akin to arugula. A bit bitter but overall pretty tasty. Pairing them with something sweet like a raspberry vinaigrette or something savory like a bacon jam dressing usually does the trick to mellow them out.

Why dandelions though? Why would you eat a weed from your yard? Those are fair questions and ones I had for a very long time. Let me break it down for you.

 

Good for you

The simple fact is, dandelion leaves are a superfood. Dandelion leaves offer beta-carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium. They have more potassium than bananas, more vitamin A than carrots and more protein than spinach.

Dandelion leaves have long been used to encourage liver health along with joint and cardiovascular health. For a weed growing in your front yard, it really packs a health punch.

 

Dandelion tea

The tea can be made from the root, flower and leaf of the dandelion. Each has their own unique flavors and uses.

Dandelion root is used as a coffee substitute and a weight loss aid.

Simply heat water and steep the dried ingredients of your choice. Not allowing the water to boil will reduce the bitterness level and make the tea more enjoyable.

 

Where to find dandelions

Most likely, your yard. They are usually the bane of every person with that carpet-like yard. A dandelion popping up is like a nail in a tire. But if you are not one of those people, embrace the kind hug of a dandelion-filled yard. The leaves are most tender in the early spring and tend to grow more bitter as the year rolls along.

If you find out you have a major dandelion taste bud and can't get enough from your yard alone, don't venture to a park or public gathering spot. Odds are they have been treated with chemicals and the last thing you want to do is chow down on some weed killer.

Greenhouses usually sell dandelion seeds on the cheap and they are perennials. Fill a planter full of dandelions and you will be set for the year ahead.

You may receive weird looks for having a planter full of weeds, though.

This spring, give dandelions a shot. You might just be surprised at how good this common weed can be.

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