Grow dandelion in your garden? Isn’t it already growing all over the rest of the yard?
OK, it might not sound appetizing, but there are varieties of dandelion that are edible. Check out your seed catalogs or do a quick search to find one that intrigues you. We prefer Italian varieties like “Clio” and “Catalonga Special” because they have a nice bitter yet delicate flavor. We use them in salads and saute them with EVOO and garlic as a nice bed for fish or chicken.
The only thing we do not like about dandelion greens is the shelf life. Once they are picked they need to be washed with really cold water and dried well. They only store in the fridge for a day or two before getting old and soggy. In early Fall 2013 we had an abundance of picked dandelion greens and made a most memorable frittata with them. It was a simple yet delicious blend of eggs, chopped dandelion greens, some steamed leftover lentils, breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese, EVOO, and fresh black pepper.
Dandelions add nice variety to your edible garden and diet. They also help pull nutrients up from deep in the soil because they have really long roots. We have read it is great to let the old dandelion plants decay in the soil at the end of the season to help add those nutrients to the upper layer of dirt. As a result, we picked the old plants and chopped them up before working them into our soil in late Fall. They sure did break down fast!
You can read more about Dandelions as an edible plant on this posting from Organic Valley. We also have this handy link to Johnny’s Selected Seeds. They carry some nice edible dandelion varieties. Be careful if you read somewhere about using the common dandelion that grows on your lawn as an edible. You could be ingesting the same chemicals that were put on your lawn. More reason to go totally organic.