Otherwise known as Taraxacum officinale (“Offical Remedy for Discorders”), the common dandelion has been gathered for food since pre-history and is edible in its entirety. Yep, so you can literally rip it out of the ground and shove the whole thing in your mouth. If you do try this, please support nature by leaving some of the stem and root intact so another one can grow, for next weeks snack!
According to the “Composition of Foods” by Haytowitz and Matthews (1984), the dandelion plant ranked in the top 4 green veggies in nutritional value.
Here are a few of the reasons why you should start incorporating this flower in your diet;
- Rich in vitamin A; fights cancer
- High Potassium levels; helps keep blood pressure down and reduces risks of strokes;
- Fiber-full; improves bowel function, aids weight loss, fights diabetes, decreases cholesterol and chances for cancer and heart disease
- Calcium- helps build stronger bones
- B Vitamins- reduces stress, necessary compound for human survival
Besides nutritionally, a few chemical compounds of dandelions are known for therapeutic benefits
- Inulin; slows blood sugar rises, which is great for diabetics
- Gallic Acid; anti-diarrheal and anti-bacterial
- Choline; shown to improve memory
At almost any stage of the flower’s growth, it remains bitter. This does not make it easy to incorporate this healthful plant into your diet, but with proper preparation, it can be enjoyable.
Boil; Leaving them soaked in boiled water for 5 minutes removes the bitter residue, granted some of its nutritional properties have dispersed into the water, it the most palatable this way.
Dilute; Adding dandelion greens to a large pot of spinach or kale can dilute the flavor pretty much making it disappear within the other greens.
Mask; Covering the bitterness with flavorful tastes like fat (healty fats obviously), vinegar, spices etc.