It's dandelion season where I live. Almost everywhere you look, the golden yellow flowers are showing their smiling faces. While I've spent my fair share of time battling these weeds in my garden, I can't help but enjoy the sight of them. They make me think of spring and sunshine and new growth.
While dandelions have an unfortunate habit of taking root where they're least wanted, they actually have a lot going for them. They're resilient plants, remaining green long after their less-hardy cousins have wilted. Plus, they're edible, and highly nutritious. They're even reported to have medicinal properties. Dandelions reportedly treat conditions including anemia, kidney disease, jaundice, arthritis and respiratory infections, and studies have shown they can reduce obesity. Apparently the milky white juices can even repel mosquitos.
Dandelion greens - on their own or in a salad - are a great way to use a plant that you can easily find in abundance most anywhere you look. Why not just accept them and make them part of your diet? While I see the wisdom in that, when it comes to eating dandelions I prefer the blossoms. But first, I cover them in dough and fry them into dandelion blossom fritters. Then I drizzle them with maple syrup and eat them like they're candy.
(Really, what food isn't improved by battering it, frying it, and adding sweet syrup?)
Dandelion blossom fritters are really easy to make. Start by picking a few dozen dandelion blossoms. You may want to choose flowers that grew in an area where there are fewer dogs, just to err on the side of caution. Wash and dry them - I use my salad spinner for this - and pick off the tiny little leaves at the base of the flower, and any remnants of stem. Then batter them, fry them for a few minutes until they're golden brown, and cover them in icing sugar, honey or maple syrup. Eat them while they're still warm. If you're feeling generous, share them with your children.
If you're into local eating, you really can't do any better than foraging for food that grows wild in your own back yard. The fact that this afternoon snack tastes something like doughnuts is really just a bonus.
Have you ever eaten dandelions? Or do you forage for other food? I'd love to hear all about it.