Yesterday I talked about the nutritional value of the dandelion - such a gem of a plant, and a great ingredient for starting your day in a healthy way. Luckily, it doesn't have to be complicated. Although the flower is a great source of nutrition, it's a little too bitter for me to eat raw, so I like to look for ways to incorporate the flowers with other ingredients that balance the bitterness. Smoothies are a nice way to accomplish this. Here's all you'll need for a Dandelion Smoothie:
- Almond milk
- 1 frozen banana
- Handful of dandelion flowers (with stems)
- A splash of maple syrup
Dandelion flowers really compliment the flavor of the banana creating a tasty combination. Blend and serve. It's as simple as that.
And how about some dandelion greens? They're a favorite of mine, for sure. In our house, the boys are partial to egg whites, so some eggs with dandelion greens and chives are sure to please. Here's what you'll need:
- 3 eggs per serving (we separate out the whites and use them only)
- 1 handful of dandelion greens per serving, chopped
- Chives to taste, finely chopped
- Olive oil for frying
- White pepper and salt to taste
Drizzle a skillet with olive oil and heat over a medium-hot flame. Add eggs to skillet. Sprinkle with a little white pepper and salt. Once they're just about cooked all the way, sprinkle with the greens and chives and quickly turn a couple of times to wilt. Breakfast is served!
Notes: White pepper is a nice seasoning for eggs as it's not too overpowering. For an afternoon snack, cook eggs the same way (with or without the yolk) and place on lightly toasted wheat bread with a little mayonnaise for a delicious egg sandwich.
If you're into juicing, dandelion greens would make a great addition to your mix. If you're feeling ambitious, dig up some dandelion roots to throw in as well. (See note below regarding where to harvest dandelions).
For best nutritional value with dandelions and any other plant, eat as soon after harvesting as possible.
You should NEVER harvest dandelions for consumption from any area that has been fertilized or treated with chemicals, such as most suburban lawns or parks. They should be gathered from wild areas, free of pesticides and chemicals. Just as the greens you grow in your garden, the first picking of dandelion leaves is the most tasty. If you pick regrowth from the same plant, the leaves will be increasingly bitter. My favorite in-print book for foraging is Wild Edibles by Sergei Boutenko.
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