Dandelion—Edible Weed

edible_weeds_dandelion_1Probably one of the most common plants around the world, the dandelion can be named by even the most botanically-challenged person. A perennial symbol of summer and childhood—cut a flower stalk and use the milky sap at the cut to tattoo your skin with small brown circles; or blow the seeds from a mature head and make a wish like you do with candles on a birthday cake.

While many gardeners spend a huge amount of time and effort in trying to eliminate this “weed,” we transplanted a few specimens to a section of our lawn when we arrived. Beyond its natural charm, the dandelion is actually versatile crop—the entire plant can be eaten. The leaves are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants, but are better harvested young before they become too bitter. We use leaves raw in salad, sauté them with other vegetables, or add them to a smoothies. Click on the images for a larger view.