I was inspired to write this after a very good friend contacted me from Scotland to ask how she should use fresh gathered Dandelion for tea. I began thinking about the wide and varied uses of the humble dandelion if you want to gather it from your own doorstep.
Taraxacum officinale, to give its botanical name, is not only a staple medicine of the northern hemisphere but as any good forager knows, its a wonderful inclusion in a salad too. In addition to its medicinal uses, dandelion for me evokes memories of blowing clocks and an old fashioned fizzy drink. I love the connection to these memories alongside the idea that this beautiful plant is not a weed but a useful plant that we can reconnect with if we choose.
The young leaves are deliciously tangy and can be used raw or treated like spinach. The petals can be used too and if you're feeling really ambitious you could make wine from the flowers! The root is a traditional liver medicine and as we're talking culinary uses this is the part of the plant used to make dandelion coffee. If you want to make tea, brew fresh or dried leaves as a gentle diuretic and stomach herb.
My advice is to harvest the upper parts of young plant and wash carefully, gently remove the bright petals to scatter on top of your feast and carefully tear the leaves into your salad or spanakopitakia and enjoy the early leaves you've foraged.
I want to share what I know about natural medicine with you. I also love stories and articles about food and nature so in this blog I will be looking at all these subjects and how they come together in our daily lives.