A little-known bundle of nutrients
Dandelion greens are very rich in provitamin A, or beta carotene (for skin and tissue health and night vision) and vitamin B9 (for cellular renewal and fetal growth).
Dandelion greens are also:
– a source of vitamin C (for the immune system, collagen formation, energy, the nervous system, iron absorption, and fatigue reduction)
– a source of iron (for cognitive function, red blood cells, the immune system, energy, and fatigue reduction)
– a source of vitamin B1 (heart function, energy, nervous system)
– a source of vitamin B6 (for energy, nervous system health, protein synthesis, red blood cell formation, and fatigue reduction)
– a source of potassium (for the nervous system, muscular function, and blood pressure)
They also contain:
- vitamin B2
Did you know? In traditional medicine, eating dandelion greens used to be recommended as a way to treat lack of appetite and chronic liver issues. The entire dandelion plant is also used for its diuretic and cleansing virtues and its properties as a cholagogue (facilitating the evacuation of bile into the intestines).
When is the right
time to eat them?
Young dandelion greens are tender and very flavorful at the beginning of spring. At the end of spring, the dark green leaves are tougher and bitterer.
or urban balcony?
Dandelions are a hardy plants that grow well in partial shade or full sun, in stirred soil rich in humus.
To learn everything you need to know about growing dandelion greens, read the page on growing advice.
storing dandelion greens
Choose your dandelion greens well:
- Choose the youngest leaves possible, those that still have a bit of white down on their tips, before the plant has grown any buds or flowers (around the end of March).
- eaves picked after the end of spring, darker green in color, will be slightly bitter.
Properly store your dandelion greens:
- Always store away from light! Otherwise their leaves will begin to turn yellow.
- In the refrigerator: Two to three days in the vegetable drawer.
How to prepare dandelion greens
When picking the greens, cut the leaves as close to the roots as you can. Next, wash them as you would other salad greens.
Dandelion greens, especially the young leaves, are eaten raw. However, as with all salad greens, you can also cook them.
Did you know? You can eat the whole dandelion! The root can be dried and used to make decoctions. Some people even eat it fresh, raw, or cooked. The leaves can be dried and made into an herbal tea. The flowers can also be eaten, fresh in a salad or dried, to add some color to a dish.
Dandelion greens go well with…
Raw: You can use them to make gourmet salads with eggs, croutons, potatoes, and cured ham, but they also make an excellent match for beets and corn, both nutritionally and in terms of taste. They can replace any greens in salad mixes.
Cooked: Dandelion greens are often made into a soup with potatoes and another “weed,” nettles! In Canada, dandelion greens are also used to make a beer that bears their name (dandelion beer).
Substitution tip for arugula: If you don’t have any arugula, add dandelion greens instead! Slightly bitter and crunchy in texture, they are a similar but slightly milder alternative to arugula.
Easier to chew and less bitter than arugula if the leaves are young, dandelion greens can be fed to children starting at 12 months of age. It is even easier for children to try them when they are cooked in soups, made mild by the addition of potatoes.
And everyone else
Everyone can eat dandelion greens. Unlike lamb’s lettuce, they do not contain large quantities of oxalic acid.
Where do they come from?
Origins and varieties
Origins: Dandelions have been used in Chinese and ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, and have been consumed in Western countries since the Middle Ages.
Varieties: Dandelions belong to the same family as endives, lettuce, and salsify. Improved varieties are distinguished from the wild plant by their very early development, more abundant leaves, and dense, generous tufts.
Some of the most cultivated varieties include::
- The À Coeur Plein Amélioré variety, with numerous, very jagged leaves that form a dense tuft the same size as an escarole plant, and a core that tends to naturally turn white.
- The French dandelion, or Vert de Montmagny Amélioré, an early variety with large leaves.
- The Amélioré Géant à Forcer variety, with a large number of very jagged, erect leaves.