Probably everyone knows the dandelion, but did you also know that it is an incredibly healthy plant? Herbalists say that with one leaf a day you can support your liver and give your body a helping hand.
Bitter in the mouth makes the heart healthy.
The leaf can take many different shapes, sometimes it is almost round, but it can also be deeply incised. There are more than 250 subspecies of the dandelion.
Harvest the leaves before the plant starts flowering, then the leaves are the most delicious. You pick the fresh flowers at the beginning of the day, when they are open and the morning dew has dried. You harvest the carrot in autumn for dandelion-root coffee and in spring as medicine for your liver.
Leaf: The young fresh leaves are delicious in salad. They become milder in taste if you leave them chopped with salt or in cold water for an hour. Finely chopped you can use the leaves as spinach. They are, because of the bitter taste, also delicious in pesto! And you can stew them or wok them as endive.
Molsla is sold in various markets in Europe in the spring. These are dandelion leaves that have been bleached. You can also do this yourself: put a closed pot over a dandelion (the leaves should not be damp, then it will start to mould). The dandelion continues to grow, but due to the lack of light you bleached the leaves, so they don’t taste nearly as bitter as the other leaves.
Flowers: The flowers can be used from March to September to make jelly, syrup or wine, you can add them to vegetables or make tea of them. I make them into nuts/dates/flowerballs, use them in tapenade, honey for the poor or in beer.
Flower buds: From the flower buds you can make chutney, make capers or bake them as vegetables. They can also be used as decoration or for salads and desserts.
5x as much protein, 8x as much vitamin C, 2x as much potassium, magnesium and phosphorus as lettuce. The leaf even has a higher vitamin A content than carrots! Dandelions are often used for detoxing the body.
Dandelion has long been used as a medicine. It is even included in the Latin name Taraxacum Officinale. Taraxacum comes from the ancient Greek taraxa (intestinal disorder) and akon (medicine). Taraxacum means medicine against intestinal diseases. Officinale means in use in the pharmacy or medicinal.
The whole plant including the root is diuretic, that’s why they call it wet-a-bed or pisslit.It works well against cystitis. Dandelion also supports liver complaints, gout and rheumatic diseases. It is a blood cleanser, helps with digestive complaints and works as a mild draining agent. The milky juice from the stem can be used against warts.
In the vegetable garden
Don’t throw away your dandelions. Pour a litre of boiling water over it, and let it soak and cool for an hour. You will then have an excellent plant manure, which contains a lot of minerals.
In the 1930s the Soviet Union used the latex-like juice of dandelions to make rubber. Huge estates and special machinery for growing dandelions were developed and during WWII these provided 30 percent of the country’s rubber requirements.
- The roots produce a brown dye
- Dandelion has a hollow stem so you can turn it into a bubble blower.
- You can also use the whole plant if you are a hobby beer brewer. For example, the beer brand Nevel has a nice beer on the market that contains the dandelion.
- During the Second World War dandelion leaves were recommended as food
- Due to the deep taproot, the Dandelion extracts minerals and moisture from the deeper layers. This creates many root passages which earthworms gratefully make use of. This creates an extensive network of fungi that provide food, and water and air are better able to penetrate the soil. The roots of plants in the vicinity also make use of these corridors.
Recipe For Wild Pesto
For the wild pesto you can use different kinds of plants. For example: with or without leek, wild garlic, nettles, dog marrow, dandelion leaf, sieve leaf, yarrow, cheese herb, bird wall and plantain.
- 100 grams of wild plants, finely chopped
- 100 grams of organic Parmesan (or a few tablespoons of noble yeast for vegan variety)
- 80 grams of nuts/seeds (e.g. sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, cashew nuts or pine nuts),
- a little lemon
- olive oil
- ½ clove garlic
- pepper to taste
Put all ingredients together in a food processor or mortar. Taste how you find the pesto and add more oil, garlic (1/2 more clove), salt / pepper, lemon to taste / structure. You can also add sun-dried tomatoes or olives for some extra flavour.