Pick Your Salad in the Backyard
Did you know that young, fresh dandelion leaves can be consumed like any other green leafy vegetable? Better yet, if you only pick the leaves, they will return in as little as 2-3 weeks depending on the season. And the root can be harvested as well, especially if you want to eliminate the plant to allow something else to grow. Eat leaves that visually look healthy. Early in the morning is the best time to pick them.
If you are picking leaves from your yard and any place other than a tended garden, there are some special considerations I’d recommend.
- If you use agrochemicals or fertilizers to treat your yard, avoid eating the dandelions in your yard.
- Not only should you pick leaves that seem to be in good visible condition, you should also look out for dangers such as dogs and cats who might want to, uh, fertilize the leaves — if you know what I mean!
- The next step is to touch and feel the leaves for softness. Why? Older leaves are rough and prickly and not recommended for consumption, while the younger leaves are tender and less bitter.
- When you pick your leaves, wash them thoroughly to eliminate debris and dirt, even more carefully than you would when cleaning produce from a farmer’s market or store, which has often been washed once or twice before it reaches you.
- If you want to use the root, you can! It looks like a carrot or a ginseng root, though not related. The root needs to be cleaned with more care and then you can peel the rough outer skin to uncover the white flesh. This can be cut up and eaten raw in a salad or boiled to make a tincture. Note: the root is a medium to a strong diuretic, so keep this in mind and monitor your serving sizes.
Start by eating small amounts and work your way up, mindfully exploring how this food feels in your unique body. Most people dislike the taste initially, but this is natural since it is not a flavor we’re generally accustomed too.
Here is a recipe to make a flavorful dandelion tea, as teas and tinctures are generally a more palatable way to partake of this food. I recommend looking for medicinal quality dandelion teas, they are processed carefully with minimal contamination or additives.
If you are pregnant, nursing, or are undergoing serious medical treatment, please consult your qualified medical doctor. Seriously, dandelion leaves are no more dangerous than spinach or lettuce, however, it’s always good to ask to be on the safe side so you can evaluate your unique medical situation.
A medicinal green pharmacy in your very own yard. A hidden treasure of health. A gift from nature that can be picked and grow back in no time to be picked again for free? Sounds good to me! Try it and let us all know what you think, and post any comments or questions below, tweet @SuperLifeLiving or post on Facebook.