Dandelion week.

dandelionIt’s dandelion week here in the Herbwife’s Kitchen. That is to say, it’s spring!

I’m scouring the yard for lovely little lion’s teeth, trying to get them before my housemate’s lawnmower does.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is one of my favorite plants. It’s incredibly versatile. Each part—flower, leaf, root—has totally different properties, and each can be prepared in so many different ways.

This week, in celebration of spring, I’m going to make dandelion every way I can think of (tinctures, infusions, food of all sorts), and write about the highlights here.


  1. Tam said,

    May 6, 2007 @ 7:22 pm

    Do you know how to make dandelion syrup? Apparently it’s quite common in the Czech Reupublic….. 🙂

  2. crabappleherbs said,

    May 6, 2007 @ 9:56 pm

    Hi Tam!

    Yes, sure, I made a dandelion flower syrup the other day (it was a bit disappointing because the honey I used overpowered the delicate flower flavor). But you can make syrup out of any part of the plant. Do you know what the Czech syrup is like? Is it from leaf, flower, root or a combination? What does it look/taste like?

  3. Tam said,

    May 7, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

    They make the dandelion syrup from the flowers, boiled in water with sugar and a little bit of lemon. Then the flowers are strained and the remaining liquid is cooked till thick… I’m not sure about the taste, but it has the consistency of honey.

  4. Jan Sensenich said,

    May 8, 2007 @ 5:06 am

    Your post got me thinking about my early memories of spring and how tied up with dandelions they are. I remember walking home from school on those first warm days and how apparent dandelions would be – just at the time that the grass is greening up. They would be everywhere announcing with no doubt that spring is here. It also occurred to that dandelions, along with snowstorms are a pretty good indicator of how much child is still in someone. Adults tend to dread them both and children love them both. They are both a sign of nature taking over and saying: Despite your technology and power, today will be WHITE! OR GOLD!. Snow and dandelions like to be everywhere. They don’t discriminate. No yard is too small or shabby, no lawn too large or pretentious (unless regularly treated with herbicide). The snowflake and dandelion seed alike will go where they will and and how nice it is when after a long winter of white, the landscape starts screaming yellow and gold again.

    So do you think the dandelions where intentionally brought over by europeans or do you think some seeds just hitchhiked along with some other crops or seeds? I imagine given its many useful properties, it might have been invited over?

    Happy Spring!

  5. Heidi (Earthkitten) said,

    May 9, 2007 @ 8:54 pm

    I make and use this dandelion blossom syrup you were asking about, Tam….I got the recipe from Susun Weed’s ‘Healing Wise’. It’s AWESOME! I highly recommend making it, if you can find yourself a copy (or it might be on her website somewhere. It’s “www.susunweed.com” and I’d put it in the website search engine)
    It not only looks, and pours like honey, it tastes heavenly! It’s a deadringer for honey, if you ask me….and couldn’t be easier to make. It has lots of sugar in it, but you use it sparingly anyhow, just as you would honey. I LOVE it spread on toast with butter, and a bit of cinnamon.
    It’s funny, I didn’t realize that it was made in that part of the world….how lovely! I just love the look on people’s faces when I give them some and they taste it!

  6. crabappleherbs said,

    May 10, 2007 @ 11:06 am

    I’ve got a dandelion syrup going as we speak. I’m using Henriette’s method, which seems similar to the other Eastern European recipes, though she recently discovered that you can leave a bit of the green part on the flower without ill effect. (In my last dandelion flower syrup I made the mistake of using honey instead of sugar, which completely obscured the flavor of the dandelions.)

    Jan, it’s hard to know how dandelion traveled — there are some botanists who think it may have been here before the Europeans, but no one’s really sure. Your memories of spring make me think of dandelion flower tincture, which I’ll write about in a few days.

  7. Bill Roberts said,

    May 26, 2007 @ 9:04 am

    I practically grew up on dandelion greens. My Mom always dug them in the spring. She even canned them for winter. BITTER! Lately, when I walk through my yard, I pick a blossom or two, some leaves and perhaps a violet also and munch on them. I figure the bright yellow must indicate a lot of nutrition. I love the thought of wild food. I’ve got all of Euell Gibbons books.

  8. crabappleherbs said,

    May 26, 2007 @ 12:34 pm

    Hi Bill. Dandelion greens aren’t as bitter if you get them in the spring before they bloom or after they’re done blooming in the fall. (See the recipe for Italian-style dandelion greens.)

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