Most people see dandelions and think of weed killer, but in many countries — like Greece and France — these greens are a dietary staple. My grandmother (from the Greek city of Patras) often served sautéed dandelions with dinner, or turned them into a healing tea. No matter if you were sick, postpartum or plugged up, dandelion was the cure.
Renowned for their various health benefits, dandelion greens are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and potassium. These greens are most noted for stimulating liver function and clearing it of toxins, but are also good for the spleen, pancreas, stomach and kidneys. What’s more, they reduce inflammation and promote healthy digestion.
If you’re excited to give it a try, here’s the deal on sourcing: Dandelion greens are seasonal in the spring and summer, so you can usually find them at your local farmer’s market or health food store this time of year. Otherwise, check your backyard!
The first time you try dandelion greens, you might find they’re a bit bitter. It’s a unique flavor that can be balanced by other ingredients, like olive oil, garlic and lemon. Sauté them, steam them or make a batch of my dandelion tea, and introduce your body to the goodness of this powerful green!
Yields appr. 3 ½ cups
- 20 dandelion greens (about 2 loosely packed cups)
- 4.5 cups water
- 1 garlic clove, cut in half
- 1 lemon
Thoroughly wash greens and set aside to dry. In a medium pot, bring water to a boil.
Add greens and garlic, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly and strain into a pitcher.
Squeeze 1 Tbsp. lemon juice into a mug, then pour in the tea.
Nikki’s Notes: I suggest taking this tea an hour or two before bed, as it aids in detoxification and elimination. In other words, don’t drink this before a job interview! Also, if taking medicinally or as part of a detox regime, please consult your doctor or holistic healthcare provider.
Joshua Faller, Bonfire Farm
Rebecca Wood, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com