Is it possible to consume dandelions?

Quck answer

Yes, you can eat dandelions. All parts of the dandelion plant are edible, including the leaves, flowers, and roots. Dandelion greens are often used in salads or cooked as a vegetable. They are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron, calcium, and potassium. Dandelion flowers can be used to make tea or infused into oils and vinegars. The roots can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute. However, it is important to pick dandelions from areas that have not been treated with pesticides or herbicides. Always wash them thoroughly before consuming.


Do you ever assist with the maintenance of your yard? When they reach a certain age, many children start mowing the lawn for their parents. However, even if you are younger, you can still lend a hand. In fact, children are often recruited to help with one of the most important, yet monotonous chores: weeding!

There is one particular weed that often drives adults insane, while many children adore it. When it is in full bloom, its blossoms resemble the radiant Sun. When it turns into a ball of fluff, it looks like the Moon. And when children pick it and blow on it to scatter its seeds, they fly through the air like the stars in the night sky. What are we talking about? The dandelion, naturally!

Dandelions are perennial plants that come in numerous varieties. They are scientifically classified as part of the Taraxacum genus. Native to temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America, dandelions are easily identifiable by their bright yellow or orange blooms and elongated, lance-shaped leaves. These leaves give the dandelion its common name, which is derived from the French phrase dent-de-lion (meaning “lion’s tooth”).

Dandelion flower heads open during the day and close at night. Over time, they develop into globe-shaped seed heads that are often referred to as “puff balls” or “blowballs.” When the wind or someone blows on the seeds, they can travel long distances. Some seeds can travel five miles or more on the wind! This method of dispersal explains why dandelions easily spread throughout a lawn and return year after year.

Instead of combating dandelions with chemical weed killers or lawnmowers, however, you could simply consume them! Are we serious? Absolutely! Every part of a dandelion is useful. From its roots and stems to its leaves and flowers, dandelions can be used for food, medicine, and even to create dye for coloring clothing.

For instance, dandelion flowers are known to have a bittersweet taste. Some people eat them raw, while others crush them to make wine, jelly, or syrup. Still others add them to salads for a burst of flavor and color.

They are also nutritious. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, dandelion flowers are low in calories and contain antioxidants that help combat free radicals, which damage cells and contribute to cancer.

Dandelion greens are also a rich source of several important nutrients, including vitamins A, B, and C, as well as calcium, potassium, and iron. While dandelion greens can be eaten raw in salads, many people prefer to cook them to reduce any bitterness. Some dandelion chefs also steam them before adding them to stir-fry dishes or soups. Others pair dandelion greens with bacon, cheese, nuts, and lemon to complement their earthy, nutty flavor.

Even the roots of dandelions have a purpose. Early settlers in North America knew how to dry, grind, and roast dandelion roots to make a beverage similar to coffee. Dandelion roots can also be used as a substitute in any recipe that calls for root vegetables.

Before you start picking dandelions from your yard to eat, though, make sure no chemicals have been used on your lawn. Dandelions in yards also tend to be bitter and less flavorful due to frequent cutting. For the best dandelions to consume, you should pick them from fields where the grass grows tall and is free from chemicals.

Give It a Try

Feeling hungry? Grab a companion and explore the following enjoyable and delectable activities:

  • The dandelion holds a special place in the hearts of many children who love picking them in all their different stages. From bright and sunny flowers to round, moon-like globes to floating-star seeds, dandelions captivate with their unique transformations. For a fun project, capture photographs or create drawings of dandelions in their various stages (sun, moon, and stars), and then combine the three pictures in a frame as a gift for a special friend or family member.
  • Ready to taste the dandelion as a delicious treat? Take a look at the following recipes and choose one or two to try at home: Dandelion Greens Salad; Homemade Dandelion Syrup; Dandelion Flower Cookies; and Dandelion Jelly.
  • Up for a challenge? Transform a dandelion into an extraordinary piece of art for your desk! Watch the online video titled “How To Make a Dandelion Paperweight,” and then ask an adult friend or family member to assist you in creating your very own unique dandelion paperweight at home. Enjoy the process of making a beautiful craft!

Sources of Wonder

  • http://mydandelionisaflower.org/did-you-know/
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taraxacum
  • http://www.livestrong.com/article/542045-can-you-eat-dandelion-flowers/
  • http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/eat-dandelions-9-edible-garden-weeds.html
  • http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/williamsc44.html
  • http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/can-eat-dandelion-greens-raw-4710.html

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