Bright yellow dandelions are showing up in lawns all over America signifying that spring is here. People rush out to apply weed-killer or spend hours digging them. But just a few dandelion plants make powerful spring tonics and the leaves and roots are excellent medicinal herbs. If prepared properly, the leaves also makes a fine tasting dish. We made it special tonight for an early dinner, and I thought I would share it with you. But, first a little info:
When the old timers made their spring tonics the main ingredient was dandelion. Dandelion is a diuretic and liver stimulant, restoring the system after months of a more sedentary lifestyle during winter weather.
Dandelion roots contain detoxifiers that purge various body poisons associated with constipation, joint inflammation, gout, acne, fluid retention, and urinary disorders. Dandelion root tea is a great liver stimulant and has been used to treat alcoholism. Dandelion stimulates bile flow and aids in fat digestion.
Dandelion leaves also contain high concentrations of Vitamins A, D, C, K, and B, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc, manganese and are one of the richest sources of potassium known to man. Roots are gathered in the fall and prepared like potatoes. Just scrape, slice and boil. This is probably some work, but could be an emergency food if you need something. The leaves and flowers can be eaten raw in tossed salads. The raw leaves are very alkaline and purify and build the blood, cleanse and regenerate cells.
Directions to make a ‘mess of greens’ with sausage and onions for 4 , you will need:
- ~a big bowl for gathering
- ~ a sharp knife or scissors
- ~ an spray-free yard (with no pets) where dandelions grow
- ~ approximately 8-10 big spring dandelions, washed and cut to 1 1/2 – 2 “
- ~ 3-4 rounded TBSP virgin coconut oil
- ~ 1-2 big organic onions (we love caramelized onion with this to add natural sweetness)
- ~ your choice of sausage (we used Trader Joe’s Sweet Apple chicken sausage)
- ~4 -12 organic potatoes, depending on size, roasted or steamed in a separate pan
- ~ sea salt, black pepper, or garlic to taste
- ~ Balsamic or organic apple cider vinegar, to taste, drizzled over greens, optional
Double or triple the amount for more people.
Dandelions are quite bushy, tender, and sweeter at this time of year. Gather up the whole plant right and cut 1″ above the ground, or pull if you want the root to make tea for further detoxing. When cooked, the leaves act like spinach or chard, and cook down quite a lot, so gather a bit more than you think you’ll need.
Wash with Dr. Wood’s Castile Soap or another veggie wash, rinsing several times to remove any remaining grit.
In a big stainless or cast iron skillet, melt the coconut oil and cut in onion(s). Sauté until the onions get browned edges and toss the greens in the oil to coat and cook tender. Cook the sausage in a separate pan unless fully-cooked. Once you are sure the meat is fully cooked, add it to the skillet and let flavors mix and the sausage brown fully. Use lid to give a final steaming and serve hot with roasted or steamed potatoes.
This is a delicious, relatively inexpensive, healthful and gluten-free meal. I think nutrient-dense foods are more filling and you can eat less. Your body is satisfied.
We will eat variations of this meal several times and make tea until it gets hot and the leaves get bitter and tough. I hope you enjoy eating for life! Bon appétit!
Other God-given wonders of the dandelion are:
~The white sap from the dandelion stem can be used to remove warts (be careful to protect the surrounding skin before application of the corrosive sap). It will require repeated applications to get rid of the wart.
~Dandelion is Taraxacum officinale, which means the “Official Remedy for Disorders.” It is so well respected, in fact, that it appears in the U.S. National Formulatory, and in the Pharmacopeias of Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, and the Soviet Union. It is one of the top 6 herbs in the Chinese herbal medicine chest.
~Dandelion can lower your serum cholesterol by as much as half.
* Use dandelion with caution if you have gallbladder disease. Never use dandelion if you have an obstructed bile duct or ulcers. Always consult with your doctor before using any herbal remedy.
On dandelions: “If you can’t beat them, eat them.” ~James A. Duke, botanist