Foraging Tales – Dandelions

Of all the wild flowers in the world, easily the most recognisable is the dandelion.

Although most gardeners would call it a weed and fight hard to chase it out of their gardens, it’s actually an amazing plant.  And you don’t have to go far from home to find it.

Every bit of the dandelion is edible and they’re packed full of vitamins and minerals.  The roots can be used to make coffee.  Yes coffee!  The leaves can be eaten as salad, though anything other than the youngest freshest leaves taste bitter and the flowers are delicious fried in batter or as the flavour for cordials, teas, sorbets, garnishes and even vegan honey.

Dandelions are one of the first flowers of early spring and in March they provide crucial food for bees, so it’s best not to pick them.  By April there’s enough blossom for the bees to fill up on, so you can go wild!

With the current lockdown situation, councils aren’t mowing public spaces as frequently as usual and it shows!  Urban spaces are awash with sunshine coloured flowers and the bee population certainly appears to be benefitting from it already.  Why don’t you benefit from it too and collect a few today?

Tips

  • Don’t pick dandelions from the side of the road or in areas that are likely to have been peed on by dogs.  Large fields or gardens are the best place.
  • Pick when the flowers are open – they close when it goes dark and when it rains.
  • Pick the youngest leaves.
  • Don’t wash the flowers, shake them and leave them for a few minutes so that bugs can escape.

During our walks we’ve noticed alot of dandelions in gardens where the homeowner hasn’t been able to cut their grass.  We’ve chatted to 3 or 4 neighbours as we’ve passed and all have said that Dottie is allowed to pick their dandelions whenever she likes.

It’s made alot of people smile to have her pottering around the front garden with her basket, while they wave through the window.  Perhaps there’s someone in your neighbourhood who would appreciate a hand in the garden and in exchange, you can take home their weeds 😂

Dandelion recipes are here.

Love Rachel ❤️

 

 

 

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