Can I really eat dandelions?

Yes you can really eat dandelions! They are versatile, nutritious and readily available! Spring is the ideal time to make a tasty vinegar to be used in summer salads.

Here are a few ideas what you can make with this common weed!

HOME MADE DANDELION APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

To make homemade dandelion apple cider vinegar all you will need is fresh dandelions and apple cider vinegar! (White wine or white vinegar can be used as an alternative.)

Last year I made my own cider vinegar with a jar of small, windfall apples from my tree and water with a little organic cider apple vinegar that contained the ‘mother’ (jelly like substance at the bottom of the bottle). This is inspired by the chef, Tom Hunt, (recipe here) so it only seems appropriate to make an infusion with dandelion and apple cider vinegar using dandelions from my allotment. 

You can make apple cider vinegar at any time of the year; it takes at least 6 weeks to create from start to finish.

I’ve made dandelion vinegar many times over the years using commercial apple cider vinegar and it brings an interesting flavour to simple vinaigrette. 

Dandelions are everywhere, especially in the Spring. All of the plant can be used in a variety of ways.  I have yet to attempt  making dandelion and burdock!

RECIPE – DANDELION APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

  • 20 dandelion heads
  • 250ml  (approx) apple cider vinegar

Method

Place about 20 dandelion heads into a small sterilised jar and fill it up with vinegar. Keep the jar in a dark cupboard for at least a week and up to 6 weeks, and then strain the vinegar into a bottle.

The vinegar can be used to drink neat or use to make a simple vinaigrette.

RECIPE – DANDELION VINAIGRETTE

  • 1 tbsp dandelion infused vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (alternatively honey or mustard)

Method

Add all the ingredients to a small jug and whisk just before adding to a salad. The mix can be stored in the fridge for several weeks. Concentrate of lemon can be used instead of fresh lemon.

RECIPE – DANDELION TEMPURA

Ingredients

  • ¾ mug of plain flour
  • ¾ mug of water
  • 1 egg

Method

Place all the ingredients together in a bowl and whisk until smooth.

Dip the dandelions into the batter mix. Shake off excess before placing into a pan with enough oil to shallow fry the dandelions.  After a few minutes turn the dandelions over to cook the other side and remove from the pan once the batter is golden.

Alternatively deep fry in oil for several minutes until golden and crispy.

Advice regarding picking dandelions

Ensure to leave some dandelions behind in the Spring for the bees as they are one of the earliest plants to flower in the season to provide pollen.

Cooking with wild plants

Dandelions have been used for centuries in many cultures to aid a variety of conditions as explained here.  

There are many ways through the season you can incorporate ingredients from your own back garden or local hedgerows and woods.  If you would like to learn more about plants in the wild, allotment vegetables and sustainable cooking get in touch.  I provide bespoke cooking lessons online and offline based on the season.