First is the dandelion leaf. Young dandelion leaves make a great healthy tea. Dandelion leaves or greens are a tastey additional to any salad greens mix as well. I have heard some people complain that dandelion greens are too bitter. A bitter dandelion green was picked far to late. To eat fresh in your salad the greens need to be picked when small and tender before the first flower, think baby greens. Older, larger bitter dandelions can still be eaten but will work best cooked. Sautéed for stir fry or added to a soup are two of my favorite uses.
Now on to the dandelion flower. Dandelion flowers are a colorful addition to salads or as a garnishment. Dipped into batter and fried, dandelion fritters are also a favorite of dandelion enthusiastic. The flower can also be steeped to make tea as well, but my favorite use of dandelion flowers is to make dandelion wine. While it can be an acquired taste, the health benefits are outstanding. I have heard some say that with the large amounts of potassium it is the one alcoholic beverage that is actually beneficial to your liver and kidneys! Foraging for the dandelion flower is simple yet time consuming task. Getting your kids involved will save you tons of time harvesting. You will have your buckets filled in no time while enjoying time outdoors as a family!
Now that you have used the dandelion leaves and flower its time to move on to the root. I haven't personally used the dandelion root but here is what people are talking about when it comes to using the dandelion root. The dandelion root dried, roasted, and ground to be used as a coffee substitute. The root was widely used by Native Americans as a medicinal tea. Known to contain antioxidants and other healthy nutrients people like Dr. Oz have recently been promoting the use of the dandelion.