Weed: A Gift from Nature Where You Least Expect It
Like most people who grew up in the suburbs, I believed the TV commercials that dandelions were the devil’s spawn and should be destroyed and eliminated before they spread like a cancer. Wow, was I wrong!
There’s a philosophy that nature will provide the resources for its inhabitants wherever they are. This means that herbs that will benefit the residents of a certain area will flourish in that area. So what about the prolific dandelion? It’s everywhere! That’s a good indication that it’s beneficial to everyone!
Not only are dandelions one of the first foods to appear for the bees in the spring (bees are responsible for 2 out of 3 bites of food that you eat so it’s pretty important to support the bee population), but they have both nutritive and detoxifying properties as well.
Some of the nutritional benefits of eating dandelions include: high levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, iron, calcium, and antioxidants.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – Has been used for dyspeptic complaints, infections of the urinary tract, liver and gall bladder complaints, congestion in the portal system, skin disorders, eczema, and for disturbances in bile flow.
After a winter of preserved foods and lack of greens (in nature, not in the supermarket), one of the first plants to flourish is the dandelion. This not only gives the winter survivors a great burst of nutrition and enzymes, but also helps to detox the body from months of a diet deficient in fresh plants.
Since dandelions can be bitter, selecting a few, young and tender leaves from the plant to add to your salad or vegetable sauté is a great way to incorporate their benefits into your meals. The larger, older leaves can be tougher and bitterer than the tender, young ones.
A few years ago, my husband stumbled across a recipe for dandelion burgers and decided that we should try them. I’m game! We went out and harvested a big bowl of blossoms (nowhere near where the dog takes her bathroom breaks!) and got cooking. Trust me when I tell you that you have no idea how great these are! Good and good for you!
Take advantage of the gifts that nature provides and delve into the world of the “weed eaters”. You’ll be glad you did!
1 cup packed dandelion petals (no greens)
1 cup non-grain flour (garbanzo flour, coconut flour, almond flour)
1 egg (beaten)
1/4 cup milk (unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, or rice milk)
1/2 cup chopped onions
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp each basil and oregano (or substitute your favorite herbs like chives!)
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp mustard of choice (I like stone-ground mustard with a little horseradish)
Mix all ingredients together. The batter will be goopy. Form into patties and pan fry (medium heat) in coconut oil or butter, turning until crisp on both sides. Makes 4-5 very nutritious vegetable burgers. Serve over a bed of greens (include some dandelion greens!), topped with hummus or guacamole, and topped with chives or scallions!