Weeds. The bane of a gardener’s existence. Well, many gardeners that is. Not all “weeds” are bad though.
What is a weed? A plant whose virtues remain undiscovered.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dandelions: Weeds or Food?
If you go by Emerson, the dandelion (among many other garden “weeds”) is, in fact, not a weed. At least in my yard it isn’t. Here is why you should stop thinking about the dandelion as a weed in your yard…
- The leaves, flowers, and roots are all edible!
- It is incredibly nutritious. Dandelions are rich in beta-carotene, vitamins C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.
- Dandelion flowers are one of the first food sources available for bees in the spring.
- Dandelion wine. Basically summer in your mouth.
- There are many health benefits: digestive aid, diuretic, shown to improve liver function, regulates blood sugar and insulin levels, lowers and controls cholesterol, and boosts the immune system.
More Edible Weeds
Here are some other edible “weeds” that can be found in your garden/yard that you should be using…
- Red Clover
- Stinging Nettles
- Wild Garlic
Please be aware!!! Anyone that has an allergy to ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, or daisy should avoid dandelion. Also, anyone pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs should talk to a health care professional before adding something new to their diet.
Dandelion Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Makes 1 ½ cups
- ¾ cup unsalted, toasted (hulled) pumpkin seeds
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup fresh parmesan cheese
- 2 cups loosely packed dandelion greens*
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- ½ cup olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
Pulse garlic and toasted pumpkin seeds in food processor until fine. Add parmesan cheese, dandelion greens, and lemon and process. While the processor is running, slowly add the olive oil until the mixture is smooth.
Season to taste.
* If you are harvesting dandelion greens from a lawn, please take care that it has NOT been treated with chemicals.
Written by Sow True Seed’s Food Expert, Sarah Wickers (owner of Well Seasoned Table)