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Quote of the Day: Wild Food

March 16th, 2014

What wild food could be more common than dandelions? We all know what they are. Even children in New York high-rises have probably picked and blown on the feathery white glove of seeds, as children everywhere do. Those ethereal floating seeds land then grow into the tasty and nutritious plant that all gardeners wish a speedy death. It wasn’t always so. European settlers brought dandelions to the New World as a necessity for medicine and food. The young leaves emerge in late winter, providing large doses of vitamins A and C just when they are needed after a winter diet. Traveling with us, dandelions have been brilliant in colonizing every sate. Where’s their habitat? Anywhere we are.

Connie Green and Sarah Scott The Wild Table: Seasonal Foraged Food and Recipes

Oddly enough, I have a few dandelions in my basement right now. They are growing out of a few of the potted trees I overwinter down there. Now that the grow light is on, the dandelions are lush and green. I’ll be harvesting them this week for a meal.
Even though there’s still snow outside, the wild spring greens will be here before we know it. I know my body is craving the bitterness that they will bring to my plate.

Do you eat dandelions?

12 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Wild Food”
  1. Lemongrass on March 16, 2014 at 5:14 am

    I love dandelions, and any greens with a bitter taste. It was always part of my salad mix while I lived in South Carolina. Here in Grenada, I am on a search for some seeds. A few back yard gardeners are on the search for some seeds for me. I have named it the Lion of all Herbs. A mild tea is great for an bowel cleanse.

    Reply to Lemongrass's comment

    • Joan on March 16, 2014 at 10:31 am

      Though it would be nice to have a local source of dandelions, I’d give very serious thought to introducing a non-native and very invasive plant to Grenada. They are well established here in the states, and have definitely taken over habitat from other native species. If would be very hard (probably impossible) to keep dandelion from spreading into the surrounding environment and eventually covering all of Grenada. I suspect that you could order dried dandelion leaves from someone like or another vendor.

      Reply to Joan's comment

      • L on March 16, 2014 at 11:36 am

        The seeds that I am looking for are from local growers who live on the mountains in Grenada. Dandelions have been growing in Grenada for more than 50 years. Because of the use of chemicals and the lack of interest in native foods, most of it has killed with weed killers from good old usa. Luck is on my side some old heads have kept the native stock…….these are the seeds that I am seeking. A trip to the growers in the mountains will be provide the seeds.

        to L's comment

      • Misti on March 16, 2014 at 9:39 pm

        I kind of have to agree with Joan on this one. Islands specifically have a hard time with invasives, but I’m actually surprised they aren’t already there.

        to Misti's comment

      • Lemongrass on March 17, 2014 at 5:17 am

        Dandelions have been growing in Grenada for the past 50 years. I am looking to local growers whose parents and grand parents grew dandelions in the mountains.

        to Lemongrass's comment

  2. Marina C on March 16, 2014 at 5:15 am

    I sure do, and I have enough in the spring in my untreated lawn…

    They make a lovely salad with lardons, the thick French bacon chunks and a good vinaigrette, or a wonderful pesto that stays nice and green if you add a handful of spinach leaves in the batch.

    But I have not so far used the flowers the way you do, what a lovely idea!

    Reply to Marina C's comment

  3. Kathi cook on March 16, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Yes but only the leaves. Does the flower taste the same?

    Reply to Kathi cook's comment

  4. Sara on March 16, 2014 at 7:53 am

    My husband made dandelion wine last year for the first time, and he just said yesterday how he can’t wait for them this year and wants to encourage them–perhaps to the bane of our neighbors, ha!

    Reply to Sara's comment

  5. Nebraska Dave on March 16, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Susy, I ate dandelion greens for the first time last spring. Straight up dandelion greens are OK but they are not something that I would crave or couldn’t wait to have. My first craving in the spring is that first young tender leaf lettuce salad with a radish or two and a scallion thrown in for good measure. I’ll most likely have a few dandelion green salads this Spring just because it’s the first harvest ready for consumption.

    My cabbages and onions hogged up some sunshine outside yesterday on their way to hardening off. I will put them outside again tomorrow and hopefully by week’s end they will be in the garden on their way to maturity.

    I’m hoping your weather co operates with your gardening schedule a little more and soon you too will be madly planting during the busy Spring garden season.

    Have a great Maine in your basement garden day.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  6. Lorna on March 16, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Love them! I use the ‘nose to tail’ approach, using every part of the plant at some point or another–leaves for fresh eating, soups and tea, flowers for dandelion ‘honey’ and wine, and roots for soups and grinding for drinking (I don’t think it tastes much like coffee, but then, I’m not a coffee drinker!). I’m jealous of your basement dwellers; this year Spring seems to be taking her time. I’ll just have to wait for them to come the old-fashioned way :)

    Reply to Lorna's comment

  7. Songbirdtiff on March 17, 2014 at 8:42 am

    I always have them in my garden, and I tend to let them be and harvest occasionally. We don’t eat them elsewhere in the yard because of the dogs.

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

  8. psmflowerlady/tammy on March 20, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I always had them steamed like spinach as a kid and dressed with vinegar or sauteed with bacon and garlic and lightly salted. Never had them as a salad. I’ll give that method a try this year.

    Reply to psmflowerlady/tammy's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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