Dandelions are abundant and delicious! They are common in almost every lawn in Montana or your home state. The pioneers carried them in their wagons to use as future food and tea sources.
This common, flowering weed is not native to North America. Original plants were brought over with the first settlers. The East Coast soon became full of the flowering and easily spread weed. Flowers turn into puffs of seeds that spread faster than Snakeheads. Soon the entire continent was flush with flourishing fields of Dandelion Flowers.
To early settlers and Native peoples, Dandelions were free and easy food. These plants were easy to harvest and nutritious. Dandies could be used as a salad, distilled into wine, and has medicinal value as well. Local insects quickly made use of the flower’s nectar as well.
Anyone with a lawn knows that these free weeds are here to stay. You may as well enjoy the harvest.
DANDELIONS for DINNER!!!
Back in the day, I went to a friend’s home for dinner. As I drove up, the kids were picking dandelions. The leaves were washed thoroughly and drained. Little did I know that I would be eating them for dinner. I always joked with them that were so cheap that I had to graze in their yard for dinner.
The newer, smaller, younger leaves are more tender. Leaves under 10 inches long are best. Longer leaves are more bitter. These can be eaten raw or cooked, like spinach.
Make a quick dressing using 4-5 strips of bacon cut into ¼ inch fried pieces. Add a tablespoon of flour to the bacon mix and brown. Beat an egg in a cup of water, add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and salt to taste. Beat well and pour into the bacon mix. Bring the dressing to a boil and pour over the fresh dandelion greens.
Keep in mind that dandelions are great targets for pets. Lawns also have Weed n Feed and Roundup chemicals, potentially. A thorough rinsing is needed.
You can also mix the Dandelions with other salad greens. Blanching or lightly frying the greens in Bacon is also tasty. I have also deep-fried Queen Anne’s Lace flowers and Dandelion crowns to add color and a fancy topping onto dishes.
This salad is perfect for a shoreside fish fry or wild game dinner. Harvesting food next to the campsite is wonderful. Maybe some Queen Anne’s Lace would also top off your free weed’s meal.
Dandelion wine is also fine!