Friday's Fixin's: Dandelions!

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Recently, I had the great, Silver Lined experience to attend an Italian cooking class led by Chef Jane Biscarini. As an aside, I simply looooove Italian food!  There is somethin’ somethin’ about it (and the Italian people by the way) that just makes my heart so happy.

At this particular class, we made sautéed dandelions. Never done that before! As you know (especially if you have spent anytime in the Midwest!) dandelions are a common weed that grows widely (rampantly?!?) throughout the northern hemisphere in pastures, meadows and lawns, mostly in temperate climates. The name “dandelion” means “lion’s tooth”—a reference to the jagged, tooth-like edges of the plant’s leaves. They definitely feel like a lion’s tooth when accidentally stepping on them with bare feet. Just sayin’…

Despite the havoc that they have wreaked over the years on my feet, I’m a HUGE new fan of eating & drinking them! There are MAJOR Silver Lined benefits to eating dandelions:

  1. Promote a healthy appetite and an efficient digestive system
  2. Fight free radicals. Wondering what free radicals are? I heard a great analogy to describe them:
    • When we run a machine, like a car, it burns fuel by combining the fuel with oxygen in the pistons of the engine. Our car moves along the road on the released energy. However, the car also gives off exhaust fumes as a by-product.Something similar to this happens in the cells of our bodies. When our bodies combine oxygen with glucose (the body’s fuel) in our cells we make energy, but we also make free radicals, our body’s version of exhaust fumes.
    • Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction that damages DNA and destroys cells. They play a major role in the aging process, contribute to the development of cancer, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and possibly allergies.
  3. Herbal diuretic.
  4. Improves liver and kidney function.
  5. Great source of vitamins and minerals. Dandelions are rich in a variety of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and B vitamins. Iron, potassium, and zinc are minerals found in dandelion.

 Sautéed Dandelions!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds Italian dandelion
  • 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 chili pepper chopped in 4 pieces
  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. Cook the leaves in boiling salted water for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain, put under cold water then squeeze as much water out as possible.
  3. Heat oil in pan, add the garlic cloves whole but smashed (leaving the skin on even adds lots of vitamins and minerals), add chili pepper, stir until garlic is golden brown but not burned.
  4. Then remove from pan and add greens. You can leave chili.
  5. Increase heat and cook stirring until heated through.
  6. Season with salt.
  7. If they are extra tart, then I will squeeze a dab of lemon on.
Images are in reverse order, FYI…

Another option for dandelion consumption is to drink Dandelion Root tea. I recommend the caffeine free 100% organic varieties. More Silver Linings: 

  1. This tea is often used as a caffeine substitute.
  2. Old books about herbal medicine state that in order to have a shiny complexion, women used to use an infusion obtained by boiling the herb and its root

 

Hope you enjoy it as much as I am!

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Comments

  1. Antonia says

    Yum! We use Dandelion in Greek cooking but usually boil it and eat with lemon juice and olive oil – goes great with fish. Another option might be adding it to spinach pie?