Dandelions for dinner

This blog is supposed to be a record of the beautiful and the delicious, and I’m sorry to say that this post will be neither of those.

I’ve been visiting the farmers’ market each week, and I always tentatively pick up a bunch of dandelion greens, stare at it for a minute, feel a bit uneasy about paying money for dandelions, and then set it back down.

Over the weekend, I finally splurged. I spent $3 on dandelions. I know there’s a certain contingent of you who think that I’m some sort of crunchy granola health-nut, and this is going to do nothing to dispel you of that notion. But as adults, how often do we get to try new foods? Even when I search out new recipes, dinnertime starts to feel so predictable, always some vegetables with garlic or lemon juice, maybe a bit of cheese on top to woo the preschooler. But weeds for dinner? That was different.

I adore greens, particularly Swiss chard and kale, so the dandelion greens didn’t seem that big a risk. When I got home and looked up recipes, I learned that they’re packed with vitamins. They hold far more beta carotene than carrots (That’s the stuff that’s good for your eyes.), and are brimming with Vitamin A and potassium. Early U.S. settlers ate these nutrition-rich leaves for survival during the colder months. Wow! I had a wonder food in my hands! Why weren’t we all eating dandelions?

I sauteed them with garlic, olive oil, salt, and red pepper. I added a splash of orange juice to combat the bitterness that a few cooks had warned of. Then I mixed them with chickpeas. I nabbed a taste before carrying the bowl to the table to serve them. They were completely inedible. Completely. I’ve never tasted such teeth-gritting bitterness in my life. I would gladly eat a lemon or lime, peel and all, before eating more dandelions. Those settlers were desperate!

I set the greens on the table and told Greg that he didn’t have to eat them. But he is a foolish man.

One thought on “Dandelions for dinner

  1. I’m sorry you had a bad experience with them. I first ate dandelion in 7th grade science class. I don’t remember why, but it was great. I think there was a Fry Daddy involved and we were eating the petals.
    Blanching the greens can cut the bitterness. Also, pairing the greens with potatoes or a dish that has a creamy component would be a good way to keep them from overpowering your palate. I admire you for trying weeds!

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