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Dandelion – bitter but tasty

With spring come the dandelions – not only in the meadows, but also in the kitchen.

A fresh taste in salads and pesto

Everyone recognises the low-growing plant with the sunny yellow flowers, but not many people use dandelions in the kitchen. They’re certainly worth trying. The young leaves have a bitter, nutty flavour; they can be blanched and used as a vegetable. Or use them in a salad – they combine very well with other wild herbs, lettuce and cherry tomatoes. Make a dressing with walnut oil and red wine vinegar. A dandelion pesto is a very special treat and not difficult to make: puree a bunch of young dandelion leaves with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, almonds and grated Parmesan. Season well with salt and pepper.

Eating flowers

It’s not only dandelion leaves that are edible, the flowers are too and make a fresh-looking decoration for appetizers and salads. But they can also be processed into a honey-like syrup or jelly. Young dandelion buds are a popular substitute for capers. To make dandelion capers put the dandelion buds in a jar with vinegar, tarragon, parsley, garlic and onion rings. Close tightly and keep in a cool dark place for eight to ten weeks. Then enjoy!

Healthy and delicious

Dandelion leaves are especially tasty before the first flowers. If you find wild dandelions too bitter, try cultivated dandelions; they have a milder taste and fleshier leaves and they’re imported mainly from France during the summer months. Wild dandelions have many health benefits, with a high content of vitamins C and D, but also potassium, calcium and magnesium. The bitter substances stimulate the appetite and improve digestion. A tea made from the leaves and roots is thought to have medicinal benefits.

 

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.bzfe.de