Nearly every part of the common dandelion, from its brilliant yellow petals, to its roots have been foraged throughout history for food, drink and medicine.
A rich source of beta-carotene, dandelions are also packed with vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, potassium and zinc. Young dandelion leaves are fantastic to eat raw and the roots can be roasted, ground and used in place of coffee. Dandelion extract and tincture is used all over the world to treat ailments from high blood pressure and diabetes to liver complaints.
Dandelions are so easy to gather and it’s worth finding out how many ways you can use them. Pick them somewhere that hasn’t been sprayed with herbicides and is not too close to busy roads. Your own garden is probably perfect!
Give them a quick wash and shake before using to be on the safe side. This recipe is easy for the kids to help with and tastes great. Although it’s called Dandelion Bread, in truth it’s closer to a loaf cake. Not too sweet, it’s delicious spread with honey and maybe topped with a thin slice of cheese.
- A good handful of clean dandelions to make up around 1 cup
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- 1 egg
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/4 cup of milk
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ cup honey
#1. Cut the yellow part of the flower away from the stem. It’s easiest to simply slice across the flower head where the petals meet the green part. It doesn’t matter if you have a little green in there as well.#2. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Place the flour, baking powder and dandelions into a large mixing bowl, together with a pinch of salt and stir lightly.#3. Next, whisk the oil, egg, milk and honey together until combined.
Add honey. #4. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir roughly until incorporated but not over-mixed. #5. Line a loaf pan with baking parchment and pour the batter into the pan, then bake for 15 minutes before lowing the temperature to 350 F and baking for a further 20 minutes.#6. Leave the loaf to cool a little in the pan before removing and serving in slices while still just slightly warm.
The loaf is tastiest served immediately but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days. It’s possible to freeze the loaf, but it’s best to do so while still whole. You can improve the taste and texture of frozen dandelion bread by rewarming it in the oven before serving.
If you’ve gathered more dandelions than you need, try dipping the heads in pancake batter and frying in a little oil with the heads face down in the pan and the stems in the air. The kids will love them drizzled with honey!
Forget trying to beat the dandelions in your yard; the bees love them and this free foodstuff has the potential to become a valuable, nutritious and delicious part of your diet.