Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Foraging for edibles: Part 1 - Dandelion

Here's something new to me, foraging... and in my backyard!!

I always knew dandelion was healthy, it was one of the greens perscribed for me as a teeanger on a long list of  plants and herbs that were to detox my liver since I suffer from psoriasis, and have from a very young age. Now you're probably thinking what does detoxing have to do with a skin disease, well many people believe that it's not a skin disease but a result of toxins building up inside the body and as a last resort they're sent to the body's largerst organ to deal with - you got it! The skin!

Anyway, I try to include some store bought "dandelion" in my diet from time to time, whenever it looks like a nice bunch at the supermarket.  In fact we just had some last week on our picnic to stoney creek where I introduced it to some of my family members who were pleasantly surprised.   The thing is that after I started foraging and researching for edibles in my yard, and dandelion being one of the first since it's so common and "lush" over here I discovered through my research that the dandelion sold in stores is actually CHICORY!

Now that's fine and dandy but I guess if I really want dandelion then I better be foraging for it!

Here you see I collected the nice young leaves from my backyard (which is more like a wilderness) and cooked them up just like I do with the store bought "dandelion/chicory" simply blanched in water first until the stems are tender to the touch.

- 1 bunch of  young dandelion greens (from the yard) or store bought chicory (sold as dandelion greens)
- Lots of boiling salted water

Blanch the leaves in the salted water until the middle stems are "Squishy" when pressed between your fingers. By squishy I mean very tender. It takes about 12 minutes of so.

Drain, if you didn't salt the water you could totally make a tea out of this liquid.

Now lay the leaves on some ice to cool down. Once cooled squeeze all the liquid out of them and add the small green bunches to a saucepan of heated olive oil and garlic (ingredients below)

- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic, minced

Sautee briefly until the flavours mix together, check for salt (I did not re-season because it was cooked in the salted water earlier) and enjoy!

Another alternative to garlic is sauteeing 1 shallot (cut in strips) until crispy golden and then adding the dandelion greens and cooking for a few more minutes.

This green is a tad bitter, but this is the best way to prepare it so that most of the bitterness is removed and the flavour is balanced.  Dandelion is a super healthy green so I definitely am going to try to include it in my diet on a regular basis.

Hope you enjoy!

1 comment:

Libellula Jewelry said...

Thanks so much for posting about dandelion greens. I've got a friend who is currently suffering from a horrible bout of psoriasis (fushia splotches all over her arms & legs) so, I'll definitely be passing this info along to her.