Top 5 Reasons to Harvest Dandelions

I went on a walk yesterday with my friend, Kristi, and was delighted to notice that the dandelions are in full swing – dandelion harvesting season has begun! And I thought of a great idea – a dandelion harvesting flash mob. Any one want to join? Simply harvest the dandelions out of your own yard (or a busy friend’s or neighbor’s) and use them. We’ll work on advanced coordination for next year. If you’re interested, leave a comment.

Why do we like dandelions? Dandelions are designed to provide nutrients to a soil that has lost them. The more nutrients a soil needs, the more dandelions you’ll see growing in it. That’s the first reason we like them. The second reason is that those same nutrients are also good for you. Every part of that lovely bounty is edible, from flower to root including everything in between. Pick them when their young or just start to flower, before those pesky buds turn to seed.
Dandelions are an excellent source of Vitamins A, B6 & C, as well as calcium, iron and more. Check out what LiveStrong has to say about them.

Here’s our Top 5 Reasons to Harvest Dandelions – which I hope provides you the inspiration needed to grab some the next time you see a heaping bountiful dandelion ready for harvesting, like these.

  1. Dandelion Wine. I haven’t tried it myself, but here’s a recipe for dandelion wine to get you started. Wine? Seriously? What better reason is there?
  2. Dandelion Tea. Traditionally used to treat a variety of illnesses from skin disorders to diabetes, here are a few recipes for dandelion tea to try. What? Dandelions good for skin conditions? Why didn’t I know this! I’ve been experimenting with dietary treatment of psoriasis. Looks like I’ll be making some tea…
  3. Wild Greens Salad. It sounds so hip, you can charge your friends extra for it. This recipe from Emeril Lagasse pairs dandelions with jicama and pomegranate, but feel free to experiment with a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  4. Spicy Sauteed Greens. Whether it’s a spin on southern collard greens or a tribute to Roman times like this recipe from Epicurious, try dandelions sauteed with your favorite herbs and spices.
  5. Pesto Pasta. If you’re a fan of bitter greens, try them directly on noodles with garlic and your favorite spices. You can also blend them into a pesto either by themselves, as David Lebovitz has done with this dandelion pesto recipe, or combined with basil and other greens for a savory combination. I’m a big fan of pesto experimentation – use whatever greens and nuts inspire you.

So celebrate Spring – run out and harvest some dandelion greens. And maybe next year, you’ll be planting them in your garden like this happy home-owner.

About The Wizard

Internet geek. Natural chef. Master composter. Eternal optimist. Muse. Helping people eat good food - one bite, one mind at a time.
  • Jill

    My yard grows a cousin of the dandelion (and a few of the mighty flowers that you have pictures of too). Are the leaves from all of these happy yellow beasties edible?

  • The Wizard

    Great question. :-) I believe they are – you’d be amazed at how many “weeds” growing all around us are edible. Here’s a list of books on identifying edible plants native to the rocky mountains for more information on the topic. I’ve had Linda Kershaw’s book recommended to me often. My natural chef instructor, Brigitte Mars, also leads “herb” walks in Boulder where she shows you many of them up close and personal. One of my favorites is lambsquarter, or wild spinach. Look for a post once it’s in season!

  • Gail Nickel-Kailing

    I have a friend, Arthur Lee Jacobsen, who has written a great book called Wild Plants of Seattle and talks about “weeds” in it. He is known for his “weed walks” in Seattle.

    Arthur Lee has eaten – or at least tasted – all the edible plants listed in his book. He’ll tell you what to expect. You can get a copy of his book on his website:

    We regularly add Miner’s lettuce, chicory, and other “weeds” to our spring salads – yummy!

  • The Wizard

    Thanks for the share Gail. I love this resource tip for folks in Seattle and inspiration for folks everywhere. I offered folks on my email this week a free t-shirt for the best comment. And given your site bears the name “Good Food World”, it only seems fitting that you should have one! If you’re interested, send me your address and t-shirt size and I’ll be happy to send you one.

    Happy eating…

  • FoodWired Top Ten – May 4, 2011 | FoodWired

    [...] found out that dandelions made it into my Top 10 Keyword Referrers (remember – I’m an Internet geek – this [...]

  • My Favorite Weeds Part 2: Malva | FoodWired

    [...] was proud of myself for harvesting and cooking up my own dandelions this year, but had to pull out all the stops to find some recipes with Malva – one of only [...]