I’m just going to come right out and say it.
Dandelion is the new kale.
There is hardly a lawn in which they can’t be found and, you’re right – familiarity breeds contempt, and so a chemical warfare is regularly launched in order to eradicate them from boring suburban lawns. Fools.
Every part of this plant is useful for both food and medicine. Even the seeds have their uses, as every child knows: not only do they tell the future, but on their little helicopter wings one can blow one’s wishes and prayers to the wind.
Dandelion Greens have recently found a place in the Wholefood Harvest virtual produce bins and we’d love to tell you why!
Here are ten reasons dandelion greens are the superfood to end all superfoods:
#1 – High in Calcium: Dandelion greens are loaded with calcium. Just one cup of chopped dandelion greens has 103 milligrams (10% of the recommended daily value) of calcium! That’s slightly more than kale! Add two to three cups of dandelion to a smoothie with calcium-rich fruits like orange, kiwi, fig or papaya and you’ll have a green smoothie that has more calcium than any dairy product!
#2 – Rich in Iron: Next to fresh parsley, dandelion greens have a high iron content. One cup contains 1.7 milligrams of iron.
#3 – Low Calories: Like all leafy greens, dandelions are low in calories. One cup of chopped dandelion greens has only 25 calories.
#4 – Loaded With Antioxidants: Dandelion greens are high in vitamin A in the form of antioxidant carotenoid (beta-carotene) and vitamin C. Vitamin C also helps facilitate iron absorption.
#5 – The Ultimate Detox & Cleansing Green: If your goal is detoxification and cleansing, dandelion greens should be the ones you use in green smoothies and salads! They are said to help cleanse the liver and many detox recipes call for them.
#6 – Lots Of Minerals: Dandelion greens are rich in minerals. Besides calcium and iron, they are a good source of copper (10% RDA), manganese (8% RDA), phosphorus (5% RDA), potassium (5% RDA) and magnesium (5% RDA).
#7 – 14% Protein: Dandelion greens have more protein per serving than spinach. The greens themselves are 14% protein and contain all essential amino acids so it’s a complete protein. One chopped cup contains 1.5 grams of protein.
#8 – Multivitamin Green: Besides vitamin A as beta-carotene (186% RDA) and vitamin C (21% RDA), each cup of chopped dandelion greens are also good sources of vitamins B1 (9% RDA), B2 (11% RDA) and B6 (11% RDA), vitamin E (13% RDA) and especially abundant in vitamin K (357% RDA).
#10 – Health Benefits of Dandelion Greens: The nutrients in dandelion greens may help reduce the risk of cancer, multiple sclerosis, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and stroke. Dandelion contains anti-inflammatory properties which may provide benefit to those with asthma and other inflammatory diseases.
How To Select And Store Dandelion Greens
Firstly keep an eye out in your own back yard for these beauties. They are probably widely available during the spring and summer months, just make sure the avid gardener among you hasn’t attacked them with any nasties!
When foraging, young greens that are harvested before the flower head appears will be less bitter. If you are not blessed with an abundance, you can expect the bunches of certified dandelion greens available through Wholefood Harvest to be fresh, unblemished, dark green leaves.
As the leaves are highly perishable, I store them in the fridge in a large plastic tub with a piece of paper towel to absorb excess moisture and condensation. They will keep for 2-4 days this way. If you store wet leaves in a produce bag, they will likely only last a couple days.
How to Use Dandelion Greens
Most intriguing to me is making dandelion wine! The petals of the brilliant yellow flowers are fermented with sugar and often citrus to make a fresh herbal brew. I can’t wait to try this! I definitely plan to this season and will keep you updated, of course!
Here are a few really cool ways to use dandelions from other awesome blogs:
- Wild Fermented Dandelion Ginger Wine, Dandelion Fritters, and Dandelion Flower Infusion and Syrup from Pixies Pocket
- How to Make Dandelion Wine and Harvesting and Using Dandelion Roots from Common Sense Homesteading
- Fried Dandelion Heads from They’re Not Our Goats
- Dandelion Jelly Recipe from Linn Acres Farm
- Paleo Dandelion Cookies from The Homestead Lady
- Dandelion Pesto from Joybilee Farm
- How to Make Dandelion Salve from Montana Homesteader
- Honey & Dandelion Soap Recipe from The Nerdy Farm Wife
(Source Tracy @ www.incrediblesmoothies.com)