Whether you collect your dandelions from your own backyard, your neighbor’s yard, or a public area, here are a few tips and tricks to get the most out of this little yellow delight (in the cleanest, best way possible). These little dots of sunshine are abundant as soon as spring makes it appearance, so collecting them will be a breeze.
Take into consideration the area you collect your dandelions from. If you pick them from your yard, a neighbor’s yard, or a country field and are sure they haven’t been chemically sprayed, peed on, polluted by cars, etc., you are good to go! However, if you are out and about in the city (or even a small town park), keep in mind that dandelions are considered weeds, and are unfortunately frequently sprayed with pesticides. In public locations, dogs are also a possible concern. Only collect the dandelions you can ensure are as clean and untouched as possible.
Make sure you wash your dandelions thoroughly to rid them of dirt, insects, and other debris that may be on them. Don’t worry about little bugs or a bit of mud – they are a part of nature, after all! A good rinse in a mixture of vinegar and water will do the trick. You can either spray the dandelions off or put them in a jar or bowl to soak for a couple minutes, followed by a rinsing off in cold water.
The great thing about dandelions is that every part of them is edible. The flowers can be snipped off and brewed as tea, the roots can be roasted as a caffeine-free coffee replacement, and the leaves can be used for tea or salad. Each of these parts is high in vitamin K, iron, protein, and beta-carotene, and is an excellent natural immunity booster and detox for your body. There are many recipes available online, so do a little research and find one that sounds good to you. Below is a simple recipe for dandelion tea perfect for spring:
To use the flowers, snip off the yellow heads after rinsing, put the flowers in a cup and let them steep for 20 minutes. You can either strain the flowers out or eat them; add a little sweetener of your choice (honey, etc.) to the brewed liquid and enjoy the delicious, immunity-boosting drink.
To use the leaves, look for the young, tender leaves and snip them off right at the root after rinsing. Chop them finely, place in hot water and steep for 10-15 minutes. Take care not to over-steep, as they can become bitter. Remove the leaves, sweeten if desired, and enjoy!