Why? If you believe that plants become available to support our needs, they are here for us now. Many people believe plants willingly create nourishment and healing for animals. I do. Of course people who are allergic, have low blood sugar or on lithium or blood thinners need to take care before adding dandelion greens to your diet.
In New England dandelions are growing everywhere they can root. Fields of green grass are dotted with the bright yellow flowers. Many people consider them weeds and use chemicals to eliminate them. They have a big role in pesticide use on lawns and golf courses. I do not think of them as something to be eliminated. I enjoy the contrast of the green grass and bright yellow flowers. I buy the cultivated version and pick the weeds from my yard to eat. I can do this, because we don’t use any chemicals and our lawn/meadow is well away from the road. If you cannot pick greens in your own yard because of no lawn, sprayed lawn or polluted soil, no problem. Cultivated organic greens are in all the major markets right now.
Dandelion greens may be an acquired taste.
Try to pick them young, before they flower, they are less bitter, if that is a concern. I know dandelion was not the first green I tried, but now it is one of my favorites. As we continue in Kapha season, the delightful bitter of this green is direct way to balance the seasonal effects of spring. They are also an easy alternative to our very sweet Standard American Diet.
Sweet, Salty, Sour, Pungent, Bitter, Astringent are the six tastes in Ayurveda. An optimized meal in Ayurveda contains all six tastes. Sweet and Salty are the two easiest tastes to get on a regular basis. Bitter and astringent are two tastes underutilized by most people eating the Standard American diet. Adding greens can really help bring balance and nutritional boost to your meal plans.
In addition to balancing your palette, for 25 calories you ingest of dandelion greens contain 50% of the recommended amount of vitamin A and 30% of the vitamin C. This is in just one cup of food. Greens are a wonderful source of fiber. For complete nutritional information, click this link. http://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/usda/dandelion-greens.
If you are new to greens, I suggest trying them cooked first. One of my favorite ways to eat them is stir fried. I par boil them to decrease the bitterness then stir fry them quick with onion and coconut aminos. I also eat them with cooked mashed plantain or coconut milk.
If a plate of dandelion greens is overwhelming, a few leaves mixed in with other sweeter vegetables can add an interesting rather than overwhelming note to salads, stir-fry’s and smoothies. Offset sweet flavor with a bit of bitter for a richer eating experience.
Here is a link to a Huffington post article with some yummy recipes. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/18/dandelion-greens-recipes_n_1618475.html
So buy them or pick them and give them a try!