25 January 2012

Flavour of the Week - Dandelion

The more I read about dandelions the more amazed I am at how they are not used on a daily basis, by more than the holistic or alternative remedy crowd.

Dandelions are a type of weed, with the most common two species growing throughout the world and seemingly able to adapt and thrive in most weather conditions. The plant is also famed for being one of the most beneficial naturally growing sources of a variety of vitamins and minerals. Dandelions contain more iron and calcium than spinach, are higher in beta carotene than carrots and contain at least 6 different vitamins including B5, B12, C and E.

Used in cooking for many years, everything including the root can be eaten. The root is most often used dried and can be ground to make "dandelion coffee". The leaves are known for being added to salads and produce a slightly crisper more individual flavour than normal greens. The flowers, best harvested early spring, can be used to make wine, and again added to a salad or eaten raw.

Dandelion tinctures, oils and absolutes are readily available as well as dried dandelion leaves, however maybe best of all this "super" plant is completely free if you can go and find a patch of grass and pick your own.

Flavour: Flower - slightly bitter-sweet taste, citrus, hint or rose and aromatic. Leaves - similar to other greens, slight bitterness, crunch, vegetable like in flavour.

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