Dandelion leaves are leafy greens that make for a flavourful addition to salads and sandwiches.
Also popular as a beverage, dandelion is commonly consumed as a medicinal tea. The flowers are sometimes used to make wines, while the root is used to make coffee substitutes.
Taste: pungent, spicy, bitter (especially raw)
How to buy: Look for Dandelion greens with green leaves and firm stems. Skip greens with brown or yellow blemishes, that have holes, or are wilted.
Great with: Because of their strong, bitter taste, they pair well with rich flavors such as bacon, goats cheese, egg yolk.
How to eat: The larger greens taste best when they’re cooked, as it mellows the bitterness. Braise of sauté the greens as you would spinach. Chop leaves and add to soups, stews, or a crockpot dish.
Finely chop leaves and steep in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain for a cup of fresh dandelion leaf tea.
Young dandelion leaves are delicious in salads. Add to salads in place of arugula. For a flavour punch add to juices or smoothies.
How to store: Store in an open plastic bag and refrigerate. The greens should last for up to three days.
Don’t like the sight of dandelions on your lawn? You’re right – they should be on your plate or in your tea!
Dandelion greens and roots were used in traditional folk medicine as a liver support, digestive aid, and diuretic. It is still used in European herbal medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine to aid digestion, to support the detoxification process, and to promote diuresis.
Research suggests that Dandelion root may indeed play a role in promoting liver health.1 Furthermore, studies also show that Dandelion tea from the leaves may act as a diruretic, increasing urine output.2
This wild green is rich in luteolin, an antioxidant flavonoid which could help delay and even prevent memory loss.
According to a lab study, luteolin can reduce inflammation in the brain of aged rodents. The most interesting finding is that this effect appears to restore memory to levels observed in younger mice.3
1. Cai L, Wan D, Yi F, Luan L. Purification, Preliminary Characterization and Hepatoprotective Effects of Polysaccharides from Dandelion Root. Molecules. 2017;22(9):1409. Published 2017 Aug 25. doi:10.3390/molecules22091409
2. Clare BA, Conroy RS, Spelman K. The diuretic effect in human subjects of an extract of Taraxacum officinale folium over a single day. J Altern Complement Med. 2009;15(8):929-934. doi:10.1089/acm.2008.0152
3. Vivar OI, Saunier EF, Leitman DC, Firestone GL, Bjeldanes LF. (2010) Selective activation of estrogen receptor-beta target genes by 3,3’-diindolylmethane. Endocrinology; 151(4):1662-7.