Spring Foraging: 5 Ways to Use Dandelion

May 5, 2017
Spring Foraging | Wild Edibles | 5 Ways to Use Dandelions | Herbs ? DIY | Dandelion Salve | Sauteed Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Lemonade | Picked Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Jelly | My Healthy Homemade Life

 We’re rolling into week 3 of our Spring Foraging series with a wild edible that just about everyone is familiar with —- dandelion.

Dandelions are so plentiful, it seems a shame to waste them, doesn’t it?  In today’s post, I’ll be sharing why you might want to take a second look at dandelion.   I’ll also be sharing some unique ways that I’ve been using this wild edible plant.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our Spring Foraging series if you missed it!

Spring Foraging Week 1:  What I Found in My Backyard

Spring Foraging Week 2:  5 Ways to Use Cleavers 

 

Spring Foraging for Wild Edibles -- What I Found in My Backyard | My Healthy Homemade Life

 

Before I dive into the recipes, let’s look at why you might want to take a second look at this simple and common weed.

 

 Benefits of Dandelion

  • all parts of the plant are beneficial

  • high in micronutrients and phytonutrients and among the most nutrient-dense greens

  • enhances digestion

  • detoxifies the liver

  • supports liver function and decreases inflammation

  • the leaf is one of the few diuretics that retains potassium

  • the root is a good prebiotic, supporting healthy gut flora

  • the flowers have an affinity for the heart and are used to relieve headaches, menstrual cramps, backaches and stomach aches

  • research indicates that low doses of dandelion root extract may be effective in killing cancerous cells.  For more on this, check out this recent article.

  •  applied topically, it can relieve sore muscles

  • the thick white substance inside the stems will reportedly remove warts with consistent application

 

Spring Foraging | Wild Edibles | 5 Ways to Use Dandelions | Herbs ? DIY | Dandelion Salve | Sauteed Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Lemonade | Picked Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Jelly | My Healthy Homemade Life

 

 

 

5 Ways to Use Dandelion

 

Dandelion Salve

After reading about some of the benefits of dandelion salve, I was anxious to try it for myself. Dandelion Salve is known for relieving sore muscles and aches and pains.

I added some Roman chamomile essential oil to my salve but peppermint, rosemary, or even lavender essential oil would also be a good choice to enhance the salve.

It’s best to prepare for salve-making a few days in advance.  After picking your dandelions, spread out your dandelion flowers outside and allow the ants and other little insects to make their escape. A few hours should do it.

Next, you’ll need to let your dandelion flowers dry for a few days indoors.  Dandelion flowers have a lot of moisture in them so you will need to let them dry out before infusing them in oil.   Another option (if you have a dehydrator) is to dehydrate the flowers overnight at approximately 95 degrees.

If you have plenty of dandelion flowers, you could also make a large batch of infused oil for other projects like I did.  Simply store your infused oil in a cool place until you are ready for your next project.

 

Spring Foraging | Wild Edibles | 5 Ways to Use Dandelions | Herbs ? DIY | Dandelion Salve | Sauteed Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Lemonade | Picked Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Jelly | My Healthy Homemade Life

 

 

 Dandelion Salve for Sore Muscles, Aches & Pains

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup olive oil (or your favorite carrier oil)

  • 1 /4 cup dry dandelion flowers

  • 1/2 oz (1 tbsp) beeswax

  • 5 drops Roman chamomile essential oil (or substitute with peppermint, rosemary or lavender essential oil)

Instructions:

  • Fill a clean, dry glass jar with the dandelion flowers.  Add the olive oil and shake to combine.  You can expect the flowers to expand a bit over the next day or so.

  • Check your jar over the first couple of days to ensure all the flowers are completely covered with the oil as they expand.  Add more olive oil if needed.

  • Allow your oil mixture to infuse for 2 weeks in a warm, sunny spot or infuse using one of the quick methods (see recipe notes.)

  •  Strain your oil using a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth/muslin.

  • In a double boiler or using a heat safe glass measuring cup in a pan of water, heat 1 cup of the prepared oil and the beeswax until the beeswax is melted.  Allow to cool slightly before mixing in the essential oil.

  • Pour immediately into tins or small glass jars. Label and date your salve.

Recipe Notes: 

Since water can introduce moisture and bacteria, make sure that your glass jar and lid are completely dry before adding the herbs and oil.

If you don’t want to wait 2 weeks for your infused oil, try one of these quick methods:

 

Quick Infusion (Double-Boiler Method):

In a double boiler or a heat safe measuring cup in a pan of water, simmer the oil and dandelion flowers over very low heat.  Simmer gently for 30 to 60 minutes or longer, keeping the oil between 95-110 degrees.  As Rosemary Gladstar likes to say, “the lower the heat and the longer the infusion, the better the oil.”

 

Quick Infusion Method 2# (Dehydrator):

This is one of my favorite methods!  If you have an Excalibur (or similar type) dehydrator with a temperature control, you can infuse your herbs in it.

Add all of your flowers and oil to a glass jar.  Shake to combine.

 Remove enough of the trays in your dehydrator so that your glass jar with infused flowers sits in the bottom.   Set the temperature between 95-110 degrees and leave it for 2 days or longer, shaking it periodically.

 

Spring Foraging | Wild Edibles | 5 Ways to Use Dandelions | Herbs ? DIY | Dandelion Salve | Sauteed Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Lemonade | Picked Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Jelly | My Healthy Homemade Life

 

Dandelion Jelly

I don’t normally make jams and jelly this early in the year so it was nice to get in the kitchen on a cold, damp and rainy day and whip up a batch of dandelion jelly.

It is true what they say, dandelion jelly tastes a bit like honey.  It’s got a light, subtle flavor that is just delicious!  A million ideas jumped in my head as soon as I tasted it.  Dandelion would go nicely with so many other flavors and I am feeling inspired to try some new combinations using dandelion in my jams and jellies!

The recipe I used comes from Food.com.  I omitted the lemon zest and vanilla bean (mainly because I only had 1/8 of a dried up vanilla bean in the pantry!)  but next time I would like to try it with the vanilla.   The dandelion jelly was a hit with the whole family.  It’s definitely worth trying!

I was tempted to make a low sugar version of this recipe but I’ll save that for another day!  Let me know if you experiment with it before I do!

 

Dandelion Jelly Recipe 

 

 

Spring Foraging | Wild Edibles | 5 Ways to Use Dandelions | Herbs ? DIY | Dandelion Salve | Sauteed Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Lemonade | Picked Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Jelly | My Healthy Homemade Life

 

Hibiscus Dandelion Lemonade

While some of the recipes I shared with you today can take a little time, if you are looking for something quick and easy featuring the dandelion, you’ll love this recipe.

If you don’t happen to have any hibiscus, you could easily just leave it out and still have a delicious dandelion lemonade.

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 quart fresh dandelion flowers

  • 2 lemons, juiced

  • 2 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers

  • 1/2 gallon room temperature water

  • honey or liquid stevia, to taste

Instructions: 

  • Add dandelion flowers, lemon juice and hibiscus flowers to a half gallon glass jar.   Fill the jar with water and stir.

  • Steep in the refrigerator for several hours or over night.  Strain and sweeten with honey or liquid stevia to taste.

 

** Recipe adapted from www.herbmentor.com

 

 

Spring Foraging | Wild Edibles | 5 Ways to Use Dandelions | Herbs ? DIY | Dandelion Salve | Sauteed Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Lemonade | Picked Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Jelly | My Healthy Homemade Life

 

Pickled Dandelion

One of the things I was most looking forward to trying with the massive amount of dandelions I have growing in my backyard was pickled dandelion.  I had tried pickled dandelion flowers last year at my friend, Amy’s house and they were so delicious, I knew I had to make them.  While that is still on my “to do” list, I opted for an easier recipe for today’s post that doesn’t require the tedious taste of trimming off all the yellow petals prior to pickling.

This awesome Pickled Dandelion recipe comes from Fresh Bites Daily  and uses the dandelion buds, flowers and  leaves.   The only hard part is waiting 2-4 weeks to taste it!

 

Pickled Dandelion Recipe 

 

Spring Foraging | Wild Edibles | 5 Ways to Use Dandelions | Herbs ? DIY | Dandelion Salve | Sauteed Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Lemonade | Picked Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Jelly | My Healthy Homemade Life

 

Sauteed Dandelion Greens

A quick and easy way to use young dandelion leaves is to saute them up with a little garlic, olive oil and a splash of fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar.   It’s so simple and easy!   Keep in mind that dandelion greens are bitter–that’s part of the reason they are so beneficial.   With that being said, while my husband and I embrace the bitter and all it’s benefits, my kids aren’t too keen on it. That’s okay!  There is more for us!

 

Spring Foraging | Wild Edibles | 5 Ways to Use Dandelions | Herbs ? DIY | Dandelion Salve | Sauteed Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Lemonade | Picked Dandelion Greens | Dandelion Jelly | My Healthy Homemade Life

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of dandelion greens, washed and roughly chopped

  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar, to taste

  • sea salt, to taste

Instructions:

  • Heat the olive oil and garlic in a saute pan, until the garlic becomes fragrant (no more than a minute.)

  • Add the chopped dandelion greens and saute until they are wilted down.

  • Finish with a pinch of sea salt and fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar.

 

To download the recipes from today’s post,

Click Here

 

 

 

Let me know:  Have you ever tried using dandelion?   Are you curious to try it?   What recipe are you most excited to try?

Next week, we’ll be talking all about plantain, another common wild edible with many benefits as both food and a home remedy.  I hope you’re excited to learn more about this amazing plant and the many ways it can be used!

 

References:

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH

Alchemy of Herbs by Rosalee de la Foret

The Earthwise Herbal by Matthew Wood

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/cancer-killing-dandelion-tea-gets-157k-research-grant-1.1248382

Rosalee de la Foret.  http://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/

 

This site is for educational purposes only. It does not provide medical advice. Information found on myhealthyhomemadelife.com is meant to motivate you to make your own health care and dietary decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with your health care provider.

 

 

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41 Comments

  • Reply Berrz May 8, 2017 at 3:45 pm I love your photos and thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! - Berrz | http://beautybyberrz.blogspot.com
    • Reply Jen May 8, 2017 at 8:01 pm Thank you so much, Berrz!
  • Reply Riann May 8, 2017 at 5:35 pm oh this is awesome! I'm all OVER that Dandelion jelly recipe and the hibiscus lemonade sounds amazing (it's my favourite flower!! thank you so much for these - I made dandelion pancakes recently - just the heads dipped in batter and flat fried - they were yummy, and tasted subtly of honey :)
    • Reply Jen May 8, 2017 at 7:56 pm Thanks, Riann! The dandelion pancakes sound amazing! I need to try that recipe! Yum!
  • Reply Kanani May 8, 2017 at 6:01 pm My kids bring these in by the bunches in the springtime. Usually, I just wait for them to wilt and toss them. Good to know that I can actually put them to use.
    • Reply Jen May 8, 2017 at 7:41 pm I'm so glad to hear that, Kanani! My kids used to do the same thing!
  • Reply Jill from Lemonade and Lunges May 10, 2017 at 1:06 pm Wow, I Had no idea there were so many uses for dandelions!! This is awesome, thanks for sharing :)
    • Reply Jen May 10, 2017 at 1:10 pm Thanks, Jill! :)
  • Reply Danielle May 10, 2017 at 2:14 pm I have only had dandelion root tea as recommended by my acupunturist. I learned so much from this post. Thanks Jen!
    • Reply Jen May 11, 2017 at 9:08 am I'm so glad, Danielle! I love the dandelion root tea! It's a great coffee substitute.
  • Reply Sarah | I Heart Frugal May 10, 2017 at 2:16 pm This was a great read! Your posts are very detailed and honestly, I didn't even know you could eat Dandelions! The jelly and lemonade sound interesting. Thanks for sharing!
    • Reply Jen May 11, 2017 at 9:08 am Thank you, Sarah! I'm so glad I was able to introduce you to the edible dandelion!
  • Reply Mary Leigh May 10, 2017 at 2:39 pm I had no idea that there were so many uses for dandelion! Great post!
    • Reply Jen May 11, 2017 at 9:07 am Thanks, Mary Leigh!
  • Reply Polly May 10, 2017 at 5:03 pm What a versatile little flower... I had no idea that you could use it in so many ways. I definitely want to try the lemonade! Thanks for sharing :)
    • Reply Jen May 11, 2017 at 9:06 am Thanks, Polly. I hope you do too!
  • Reply Elise Cohen Ho May 10, 2017 at 9:22 pm When I first started reading I was looking to the dandelion tea but now I am thinking that I will make the salve first.
    • Reply Jen May 11, 2017 at 9:06 am It's so easy to make, Elise. I hope you try it!
      • Reply Elise Cohen Ho June 8, 2017 at 9:06 pm We bought the ingredients and the daughter and I will be having a fun time :)
        • Reply Jen June 9, 2017 at 7:46 am I'm so glad to hear that! :)
  • Reply Stephanie | Adventures in Aussieland May 10, 2017 at 11:44 pm I've been loving this series! I've never tried to ingest dandelions before but all these recipes are making me want to! The tea sounds lovely!
    • Reply Jen May 11, 2017 at 9:05 am Thank you, Stephanie! I hope you get to try some of the recipes.
  • Reply Leah May 11, 2017 at 5:47 am I already pinned this page the other day. So many great recipes and things I can use dandelions in. And we actually have dandelions where I live!
    • Reply Jen May 11, 2017 at 9:04 am I'm so glad you could use this one, Leah! Now I'll be curious if this week's plant--plantain grows in Australia!
  • Reply Loren May 11, 2017 at 8:34 am These are wonderful ideas to try! Thank you for the recipes. I have not tried dandelions at all, but have always heard how wonderful they are. This year may be the time to try them, although I have seen a bunch that have already gone to seed. I will also be sharing with my Tincture making class so we can try the salve.
    • Reply Jen May 11, 2017 at 9:02 am Thanks, Loren. The salve is so simple to make!
  • Reply Karla May 12, 2017 at 7:05 pm I have never used dandelion for anything, but I would like to try it. You offer a lot of practical steps for doing so.
    • Reply Jen May 12, 2017 at 9:07 pm Thanks, Karla!
  • Reply The Sun Mama May 12, 2017 at 7:06 pm I really enjoy learning new uses for herbs and other plants on your blog!! I'm intrigued in all the ways I can use dandelions !!!! :)
    • Reply Jen May 13, 2017 at 7:21 am I'm so glad to hear that! Thank you! :)
  • Reply Havergal Doherty May 15, 2017 at 1:28 pm Jen, that dandelion jelly is surprisingly delicious. I'm not a fan of trying new foods or flavors, and I did hesitate before I took my first taste, but I loved it. Now I know how to keep the grandkids busy when they come for a visit............picking dandelions for more jelly.
  • Reply Amanda May 25, 2017 at 6:16 pm Sch wonderful ideas! Can't wait to make the jelly! :)
    • Reply Jen May 25, 2017 at 6:18 pm Thank you, Amanda! It's one of our favorites!
  • Reply Megan May 26, 2017 at 8:29 am Wow! So neat! Who knew Dandelions could be so beneficial? Loved your article! Now I have to go pick me some ;)
    • Reply Jen June 6, 2017 at 7:59 am I know, it's amazing, isn't it? I wish I knew how beneficial they were years ago! Thank you, Megan!
  • Reply Lisa June 22, 2017 at 11:34 am Oh my word, I never even knew dandelion was edible. This is a great post. Would love to try a few of these ideas, will have to go hunting for dandelions though. They haven't invaded our yard yet.
    • Reply Jen June 23, 2017 at 7:36 am For years, neither did I, Lisa! Hope you enjoy the recipes! :)
  • Reply Laura June 22, 2017 at 1:10 pm Who would have thought all the uses for dandelions! I like the use for sore muscles and lemonade!! I learned something new today!!
    • Reply Jen June 23, 2017 at 7:35 am I'm so glad, Laura! Dandelions are so plentiful, it's nice that we can actually use them! :)
  • Reply Stephanie Lane July 6, 2017 at 10:33 am I tried and loved Dandelion tea years ago. I had forgotten all abut it.
    • Reply Jen July 6, 2017 at 12:19 pm I'm glad I was able to remind you! Dandelion tea is a good one. It's so robust, it makes a nice coffee replacement

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