|dandelion roots drying|
Cook briefly (steaming works well) as a hot vegetable, or add them raw to a mixed salad. Or juice them in combination with other greens and some carrots and celery. Add apples to the juice if you like it sweeter. You can use the ordinary green leaves in salad too all year, if you don't mind a slightly bitter taste. They add a dimension to salads as do other bitter leaves like land cress, rocket or mizuna greens. They are really mineral rich and a nutrition boost, especially needed in spring.
We leave the flowers for pollinating insects and they are popular with many species of hover fly as well as nocturnal pollinators and bees. They can be picked off just before the seeds disperse but allow a few to set seed for next year's crop. Green Finches love the seed heads anyway.
Then, when they get old and in the way of the next crop, we dig some up, leaving any that can stay to sprout again. The roots are laid out to dry for a few days until hard, then roasted in a low oven. Grind them up and you have dandelion coffee. Half a dessert spoon full is enough to brew a cup of coffee, done just like you would with coffee grounds and it is surprisingly tasty.
|dandelion coffee - very tasty and not bitter at all|