Spring has arrived in Seattle, and soon our yellow-headed friends will begin pushing their heads out of the soil AND INTO OUR BELLIES. Wait just a second… are you killing your dandelions? Why are you still killing your dandelions? These little critters that some people work so hard to destroy are like the tiny green bison of your backyard. You can use the flowers to make wine or tea, and the young roots are not only delicious when skinned and sauteed (only when tender and young), but also have a multitude of medicinal uses and can even be dried, ground, and brewed as a coffee substitute! How fantastic is that? The most familiar parts of the dandelion on your table, however, are its leaves, which are delicious in salads or steamed/sauteed like greens, and can be picked for free!
Spring is the best time of year for dandelion greens, especially if you like to use them raw. You can literally pick them from your yard, wash them off, and eat them in salads. Optionally, you can also probably pay about $4/lb for some dandelion greens at your local hoity-toity health food market. You’re too smart for that, though, so you can forage for them yourself. When looking for yummy greens, pick the leaves that are greenest/youngest, and discard leaves with discolorations or any kind of yellowing.
Don’t, of course, use yard dandelions from chemically treated lawns, immediate roadsides or otherwise heavily polluted areas.
Last Spring, I was able to harvest an incredible number of greens, and whipped up this yummy little salsa. As it turns out, dandelion greens are perfect for a quick dippin’ salsa, as they have a rather sharp, somewhat radishy flavor that really augments traditional salsa mixes. Try this at your next get-together and see if your guests can guess the “secret ingredient!”
– About 1/4 to 1/2 lb. fresh dandelion greens, washed thoroughly and ripped into pieces.
– 6 oz. (or so) of fresh tomatoes or tomato juice.
– One sweet pear.
– Three medium cloves of garlic.
– 1/2 of a medium yellow onion.
– 1/4 cup of lemon juice.
– 3 tablespoons of hot pepper sauce (tabasco et al), or to taste.
Puree everything together in a blender or food processor and serve cold with tortilla chips.
You could also simply chop all of this up and serve it as a pico de gallo sauce.
Eat some dandelion green salsa as soon as you can!