Eating dendelions

A thread in Comment on Cecil’s Columns ahs a post that says dandelion leaves are very nutricious. Me? I put weed killer on them and watch them die.

Has anyone here actually picked dandelion greens from his lawn and eaten them? How did you prepare them? What did they taste like?

Yes, for salads. We would simply pick the leaves and include them whole in whatever mix of greens we had. They were rather bitter and are slightly dense compared to most lettuce varieties, but not bad eating. This was in my mother’s crazy big cottage-garden phase when there were also a number of other weird herbs and things going in our salads.

My Uncle is a monk down in Dubuque, Iowa, and when we visit him we go on wonderful nature hikes. We’ve made nettle soup, picked bagfulls of morels, and made a salad out of all the plants of the forest. Dandelion leaves were a big part of the salad. IIRC, there was some wild turnips and ginger root as well. The dandelions were slightly on the bitter-greens side, but not bad at all. With everything else mixed in, it was a darn good salad. And we couldn’t beat the freshness.

Interesting. I may have to try them some day.

And I do know how to spell ‘nutritious’. :smack:

I have tried the greens and I do not particularly like them but this might be of interest to you.$vinelandNjUsa.html

This site is down today but hopefully will be back up later:
Dandelion Festival


They’re great if you pick them fairly young and fresh, then shred them and toss them into a frying pan with some browned lardons (little chunks of bacon) - they only need about 30 seconds and should not cook, only wilt a bit.

I’ve made dandelion coffee from the roots; you need a heck of a lot of them, but it’s good.

Consuming dandelions will make you wee a lot though; they contain diuretic compounds; that’s why one of their archaic common names is ‘piss-a-bed’

Confirming Mangetout’s ‘piss-a-bed’ and priest’s-crown, telltime, and wet-a-bed.

I suggest reading up on this fascinating little plant here.


I’ve eaten the greens and flower buds many times. Also sampled a wine made from the blossoms, once. All are quite tasty. The greens are something like endive, the buds like brussells sprouts. The wine was white and tart.

Another confirmation of their edibility. If they’re small, they’re OK. Large ones are too bitter.

The flower stems, IIRC, contain a natural laxative.

When I was homeless in NYC, dandelions were a major food group for me. Easy to find, free, and nutrious. Also tasty.

When I was a kid, one of my springtime chores was to go out and pick all the dandelions in the yard and bring them in to my mom so she could make wine out of 'em.

Just don’t snort them, or you may well find the walls covered with giant, fanged, Funky Winkerbeans.

Just like Ray Bradbury.

Hmm, are you sure you’re not one of my kids? I used to make all three go out and pick bushels of the blossoms. It takes a lot to make five gallons of wine. They thought it was fun at first, then got pretty sick of it.

The worst part for me was sitting down for hours snipping off the stems. If you leave any of the parts that have the white juice, it will ruin the wine, making it bitter.

The reason that dandelion wine has a bad rep is that too many people make it cloyingly sweet. The trick is to use just enough sugar to have a nice dry wine. It is really good, but takes a long time.

I used 5-gallon glass carboys to do the fermenting, using a rubber stopper with a glass tube going into a beaker of water to make an air lock (any air getting into the process will turn it into acetic acid). Nice to have them bubbling away for a few months.

Fun, good and cheap, if you have kids to pick the blossoms and don’t get busted for breaking the child labor laws. :slight_smile:

when I played baseball when I was a kid I would be gone all day. I ate dandelions out of curiosity and kept it up. They are not real tasty but certainly not offensive.

Moved from IMHO to CS.

They are indeed quite edible, but if you’d really like to add some dandelion nutrition & flavor to your diet, I’d suggest buying a packet of dandelion seeds designed for that purpose. The old saying used to go, “pick them before they bloom, else they turn bitter!”

Baloney I say. Common lawn-variety wild ones taste pretty bitter way before they bloom. Buy a variety that’s been selected for largeness & a less bitter flavor.

Very bitter, but in a good way. I like them raw and cooked. I used to grow a red variety and used it to spice up a salad. In hot direct sunlight, they grow pretty red.

That was my experience too; they were just too bitter for me. As wild greens go I much prefer nettles, dock, plantain, and poke shoots (but only in the very early spring) for potherbs. For salads I prefer shepherd’s purse, purselane, miner’s lettuce, mustard, alfalfa and a lot of other wild plants. I used to make a big weed salad and take it to the Krishna temple in Spanish Fork back in the early 90s. It was well-received and usually completely eaten.

I would love to subscribe to your newsletter. I love eating the backyard, and you sound like you’ve got some great knowledge to share.

Large flowers+(beer) batter=tasty dandelion fritters!

CMC fnord!