Dandelion – weeds or food?

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Uses For Dandelions: What To Do With Dandelions

Dandelions [1] are considered weedy pests to many people, but these flowers are actually useful. Not only are they edible and nutritious, but they play an important role in ecosystems as well. In your lawn, they nourish ladybugs [2], which in turn eat aphids [3], and they aerate and add nutrients to the soil. Consider all the uses for dandelions before dismissing this common weed.

Medicinal Dandelion Uses

Knowing how to use dandelion for medicinal purposes dates back millennia. Always check with your doctor before using an herbal or natural medicine, but generally, dandelions are considered safe to consume.

Traditionally, dandelions have been used as a diuretic or even a laxative. The leaves may have a slight laxative effect and may also improve digestion. The roots of the dandelion may be used to treat issues associated with the liver, kidneys, and gallbladder.

Dandelions may even be able to help manage diabetes. There is some evidence that both the roots and the leaves, when consumed, can lower fasting blood glucose levels.

What to Do with Dandelions in the Kitchen

All parts of the dandelion are edible and nutritious. Most commonly eaten are the leaves. Dandelion greens are rich in vitamins, A, B, C, E, and K. They also have iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Polyphenols in the leaves fight inflammation in the body. Cook the leaves as you would any other greens, or enjoy the young, early leaves raw in salads.

The roots of the dandelion are a particularly good source of fiber. You can eat them fresh, use them to make a tea, or dry them for future use. If drying, chop them up into smaller pieces when fresh and then dry them.

Use the vibrant yellow flowers of the dandelion to make wine, to infuse vinegar, oils, and honey, or to make tea. You can pull the petals off—the green parts are too bitter—and use them in desserts, like cookies, cakes, and frosting.

Harvesting Dandelions

There are so many ways to use dandelion plants, this often hated weed, but never harvest or use plants from lawns where pesticides and herbicides have been used. You can cultivate your own dandelions, or simply avoid using chemicals on your lawn and use the flowers that crop up in the grass.

The leaves are best harvested early before the flowers have emerged. This is when they are milder in flavor. If you do harvest the older greens, they are best cooked, not eaten raw.

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URL to article: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/dandelion/uses-for-dandelions.htm

URLs in this post:

[1] Dandelions: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/dandelion/dandelion-control.htm

[2] ladybugs: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/beneficial/attract-ladybugs.htm

[3] aphids: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/insects/homemade-aphid-control.htm

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