Dandelions Are Good For You

The Surprising Superfood From Your Backyard: Dandelions

Dandelions are a Superfood? Those bright yellow weeds that pop up in the lawn? Yes, that’s what we are talking about. Get ready to have your mind blown!Stop fighting dandelions and celebrate them for the superfood they are!

Dandelions are some of the most nutritionally dense greens you can eat; far more nutritious than kale or spinach. They are full of vitamins and antioxidants and a half cup of dandelion greens has more calcium than a glass of milk! The greens are also a good source of Vitamins C, A and K. Dandelions are rich in potassium, giving them a strong diuretic quality as well as making them an excellent blood detoxifier. Dandelions are noted for their ability to stabilize blood sugar, making them an excellent supplement for diabetics.

Backyard Superfood: Dandelion

My Dandelion Childhood

Picture this scene: I’m 8 years old and new to the neighborhood. I am desperate to make new friends because school starts in a few weeks. While chatting away to some of the neighborhood kids, I see my mother out of the corner of my eye with a big bowl. One of the kids asks, “Umm, why is your mom picking weeds out of the yard?” My response, “I think she has a lot of water.” *crickets*

dandelion roots, leaves, and flowers are powerful superfoodsThe weed my mom was harvesting? Dandelions. Yep, that evil little weed that threatens the tranquil sea of green on a perfect lawn. I grew up very aware of its health benefits; notably its use as a diuretic (my mother always said she had “a lot of water” when she was retaining water). In many countries, especially in Asia, dandelions are eaten regularly for medicinal and for nutritional values (by the way, my mother is Korean). In the West, dandelions are gaining popularity as an edible weed.

how to harvest dandelions for medicinal and culinary uses

How to Harvest Dandelions

The entire plant is edible: flower, leaves and roots. Its taste resembles that of a spicier arugula. If you plan to harvest your own greens, make sure you harvest from an area that is not treated with chemicals of any kind. Avoid areas near freeways or public parks. You can find dandelion greens and roots in Asian stores or even in some specialty supermarkets if you are not feeling up to foraging. If you do plan to harvest them on your own, it’s better to gather dandelions in the spring when they are young (before they flower) and again in the fall.Stop weeding and start drinking - dandelions are a superfood and you should be drinking this tea!

How to Eat Dandelions

  • The root can be used to make a medicinal tea for treating digestive issues, gallstones, inflammation, muscle aches, and bloating. Add the root (fresh or dried) into a cup with boiling water and steep for 2-3 minutes. Add a bit of honey to cut the bitterness.
  • The roots can also be dried and ground for a coffee replacement. Once the root is roasted, it has an appearance and taste similar to coffee. You can brew it in a coffee pot or french press as well. Serve the dandelion coffee with cream and a sweetener.
  • Use fresh or dried petals as a garnish in salads and desserts. Young dandelion petals have a honey-like flavor; mature blossoms are bitter, but still nutritious and pretty. You can dry the flowers in a dehydrator or lay them out in a single layer on a lined cookie sheet and place it outside in the mid-day sun.
  • For a savory dish, try dipping  the flowers in tempura batter and frying them.
  • Mature dandelion leaves can be on the bitter side. Blanch the greens first, then saute them in oil with garlic. Young greens can be eaten raw in salads or in sandwiches.Dandelion greens are more nutritious than kale or spinach!

Instead of worrying about eradicating the weeds from your lawn this year, think of the weeds as a free, highly nutritious food source. Go ahead and let the kids blow on the dandelion puff balls; they’re helping to spread free food for all.

About the Author : Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe is a mom of two rambunctious boys, wife, and work-at-home mom from Georgia. In her free time (when there is such a thing), she is in the garden or hidden away reading the latest post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama! As interests, Debbie is an obsessive crafter, home chef, and gardener. She is a freelance writer, blogger, and is a co-author and photographer behind the garden blog, The Prudent Garden; a collection of tips, crafts, and articles that highlight home gardening.

View all posts by Debbie Wolfe

  1. Elaine DiSanto
    Elaine DiSantoAugust 2,15

    My mom is Italian, and is addicted to the new leaves – dressed simply in a salad with oil and red wine vinegar. As kids, we used to head out every Spring, brown paper bags and butter knives (to slice the roots) in hand, on the side of the road – we lived in a rural/suburban area. If questioned, our answer was always “it’s for a science project”… we didn’t want anyone to know our mom ate WEEDS, LOL!

  2. Victorya
    VictoryaApril 20,16

    Thank you for the wonderful helpful information.

  3. Laura ~ Raise Your Garden
    Laura ~ Raise Your GardenApril 26,17

    Love this article! I wish all my neighbors would read and stop spraying that horrible chemicals all over their yards to rid themselves of dandelions!! They are kind of pretty, why kill them?

  4. Meagan
    MeaganApril 26,17

    Dandelions are also helpful for pollinators as they have lots of pollen and often come out earlier than other flowers in the spring. I actively encourage them in parts of my garden.

  5. Aaron
    AaronApril 27,17

    Next time my kids want to eat the dandelions I wont feel bad about not stopping them! Great article!

  6. Lara
    LaraApril 30,17

    We just removed hundreds of dandelions from our yard, but we’re wondering if we can eat them, knowing that last summer we used a fertilizer and a pesticide on our lawn (do you think it has washed off? Or will there be residues?)

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