Despite its persistent growth, the dandelion's blossom, as well as its leaves and root can be used for a variety of culinary purposes. And it's not the only weed you can eat!
Weeds have a negative connotation for a variety of reasons. They grow profusely in lawns and affect the aesthetics of your garden. They compete for nutrients and water with the plants you actually do want. And, fighting weeds requires a lot of time. But let's, just for a minute, appreciate them for their uses.
All the parts of a dandelion are edible, from its root to its flower. And there are various ways to use them.
Roots - Dandelion roots have digestive and detoxifying properties. You can make a soothing tea, or tincture. Or you can simply cook them up and eat them like you would a carrot.
Greens - The pretty leaves can be tossed into a leafy green salad or used in a cold sandwich. To lessen its bitterness, you can eat it warm on a pizza, put in a soup or wilt in a hot dish.
Flowers - Dandelion flowers can be used to make syrup, jelly and even wine! Or more simply you can bread and fry up the flower heads for a tasty bite.
Check out these 16 creative dandelion recipes. Try some of these recipies at home, but be sure that anything you pick is edible and has not been sprayed with pesticides.
Other edible weeds
You may have heard of dandelion greens being used in the kitchen. But did you know that these other edible weeds are a popular ingredient as well - both their flower and foliage?
- Lambs Quarters (photo)
How organic farmers tackle weeds
Now that we've taken time to appreciate them, let's look at the more regular occurrence of tackling these overgrowing plants. They can make it difficult to harvest our vegetables and they take water and nutrients away from other plants affecting their growth, so we must face them head on using organic methods.
- We take the time and do it the old-fashioned way by using a loop hoe to tear out the weeds.
- We use a flame weeder and kill the weeds with the intense heat of fire.
- Or, before we transplant our veggies into the soil, we fasten black plastic down over each row to ensure the weeds don't get sunlight and can't grow and also put straw mulch between the rows
At Cookstown Greens, our choice of weeding method depends on where they're growing and what crop we're trying to protect.