Are dandelions safe to eat? Can my rabbit eat dandelions? Are dandelions good for you to eat? What vitamins are in dandelions? What minerals are in dandelions? What are the health benefits of eating dandelions? How do dandelions taste? How to cook dandelions? How to make dandelion tea? What are some of the uses of the dandelion?
While many people consider the dandelion as a weed, it was once used as traditional medicine; an herb with amazing health benefits. In fact that is the reason why it was brought to North America in the first place. The bitter taste of the dandelion is one of the reasons why more people do not eat them, and why many are not even aware they are edible and healthy.
If you keep horses, or rabbits, or livestock, you may have noticed that they often prefer a handful of dandelion greens over grass. They seem to know that these leaves are rich in vitamins and are healthy.
Every part of the dandelion is edible, roots, leaves, even the flowers. Best of all they are free and easy to come by.
Health Benefits of Eating Dandelions
Dandelion are very healthy, there roots are said to be excellent for digestive system health. They stimulate the liver, thus improving bile production.
Dandelion leaves are high in Vitamin A and C thus aiding in boosting immunity, they also calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron.
In general, dandelions are natural diuretics, cleaning and toning the kidneys. They are also said to help restore energy.
As a tea, dandelion is said to help with congestion.
How to Prepare Dandelions
Dandelions should only be picked where chemical sprays have not been used. They should always be washed well. Even if sprays have not been used there are always risks of bacteria, or even worm eggs, particular if picked from areas where dogs may have been.
Dandelions greens can be used in teas, salads, soups, stir-fries and casseroles. The flowers can be sprinkled on salads to add color, and have been used to make dandelion wine, however the stem of the flower should be discarded. The roots are usually sliced and used in stir-fries, soups, casseroles, and can be used to make a caffeine-free coffee.
A little goes along way, and because of the bitter taste, you do not want to overdo it. To remove some of the bitter taste, leaves can be blanched first.
How to Make Dandelion Tea
Dandelion leaves can be used alone in a tea, or with other herbs. They may be used fresh or dried. You can make a tea infusion in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Determine how many cups of water fit the container. Put one to three teaspoons of leaves per cup of water into the container. Pour boiling water over the leaves, seal the jar, and let sit for half an hour. Some people prefer to leave the container in the sun, claiming that this adds value to the tea. It can be served hot, or cold.