Wild Edibles: The Not So Humble Dandelion
– by Heather Gardner of Conscious Earth Company
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale, member of the Sunflower family) are cheerful little plants with off the chart nutrition and medicinal qualities and rather tasty too, the leaves taste slightly bitter similar to endive. The bane of many lawn enthusiasts, they have been revered by herbalists worldwide for untold centuries, and have been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine as well as by the Native Americans. It is still cultivated as a crop in many parts of Europe such as France and Germany. Dandelions are a sensational superfood and fabulously free, fresh and unpackaged.
Powerful Dandelion Nutrition
Here’s what so special about this abundant wild edible plant:
- Contains 112 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin A & four times more vitamin A than lettuce
- Higher in beta-carotene than carrots.
- The iron and calcium content is greater than spinach.
- 32 percent daily value of vitamin C per cup of leaves.
- Contains vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, C, E, P, and D, biotin, inositol, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc, and many other trace elements and enzymes.
- Contains the antioxidant lutein, which is good for healthy vision.
- Also helenin which is reputed to help with night vision
- Rich in inulin, this is a prebiotic, which actually feeds and encourages the growth of the beneficial bacteria in the gut as well as balancing blood sugar and diabetes.
- The flowers contain lecithin, this helps the liver to break down fats and improves brain function.
- The MILKY SAP found in the leaves and flower stems have been used to remove warts, corns, callouses and other stubborn skin maladies.
- When placed in a paper bag with unripe fruit, the flowers and leaves of Dandelion release ethylene gas ripening the fruit quickly
- Dogs, cats, hamsters, horses and our other furry friends can also eat dandelions. It aids their digestion, and cleanses their liver and kidneys.
Wild Dandelion Pesto
Makes 2 jam jars
- 1 big handful of Dandelion leaves (or a mix of foraged or garden greens)
- 1 handful or packet of fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup of walnuts or hazelnuts
- 1 cup of shelled hempseeds (or pine nuts)
- 3 tspns of lime or lemon juice
- 1-2 large cloves of garlic
- 1 small chili or half a large (optional)
- 1 teaspn of Sea or Pink Himalayan Salt
- 1 level tspn kelp powder
- 1 level tspn seagreen granules
- aprox 200mls organic virgin oil, I use a mix of hemp & olive.
Place everything in your food processor (in 2 batches if it’s a small machine) – chop the garlic and chili first. Blend until nice and smooth but with a nice crunch. Be ready to add more oil as required to make a nice smooth consistency and to help the blades turn. Use whatever ingredients you prefer or have on hand and change the quantities if you like. Pesto is pretty easy to make out of anything!
Pack the pesto into glass jars leaving a little space at the top. Pour olive oil into this space to seal, this stops it from going moldy.
Store in the fridge. Pesto is best used within a few days for flavour, but will keep if the oil seal has been done properly.
Heather is a Raw Food and Kundalini Yoga Teacher. She began learning about herbs and wild foods at a young age from her herbalist mother while growing up on a remote mountainside in Ireland. A lifelong vegetarian she began delving into the world of foraging, nutrition, raw & living foods as a teenager searching for answers to numerous health challenges.
At the age of twenty she was handed a copy of Viktoras Kulvinskas’s Survival into the 21st Century and was hooked from then on. In 2005 she began to move onto a raw diet and has increased to a high raw diet over time. She has studied Natural Nutrition and many other healing modalities. She has over 10 years experience as a Natural Remedies, Health & Beauty manager and Brand manager within the UK Natural Products industry, helping people to achieve better health naturally.
Now she lives in the west of Ireland, teaching and running her business www.consciousearthcompany.com as well as running after her feisty toddler
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