The dandelions in my flower garden have been quite prolific and it looks to be a bumper harvest of dandelion roots. Some people deliberately cultivate dandelions in the herb patch, and I might do the same. In fact dandelion (taraxacum officinale) is a highly regarded herb.
Dandelions edible and medicinal uses
For centuries the leaves have been used in teas and soups, and raw in salads, with the roots used for an excellent coffee. Dandelion preparations have been used in herbal circles for their beneficial effects on the liver, and generally for toning the digestive system.
Dandelion root coffee is a beverage that is often recommended not just for its positive benefits in this regard, but also because it is free from caffeine. Perhaps because of its reputed liver-cleansing properties, dandelion coffee has been suggested for relieving hangovers.
You dig up your dandelion root and wash all the soil off it. Then you chop it into small pieces, spread the pieces on a baking tray and roast them in a fairly hot oven for fifteen minutes.When the pieces are brown and dry, they can be ground and stored in an airtight container.
To make coffee, you boil water with a couple of tea spoons of ground root and let it simmer for five minutes before straining. While the bitter quality of dandelion leaves is considered to be associated with its beneficial effect on the digestive system, it is true the younger leaves are more palatable for salads.
They have been found to contain relatively high concentrations of vitamins so you don’t need vast quantities to gain a little extra nutrition from them.
Potato salad with dandelion dressing
- 4 cups cold cooked potato, diced
- 1 tomato, diced
- 2 dandelion leaves, finely chopped
- ¼ cup chopped garlic chives
- 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Combine the potato and tomato in a bowl.
- Combine the remaining ingredients and pour this mixture over the vegetables.
- Serve with cold meat or hard boiled eggs
- Serves 2-4.