Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dandelion Greens

A long time ago I heard that west-bound pioneers survived because they were able to eat dandelion greens. I don’t remember where I heard the story, and I have no idea if it is true. But I have always wondered what well-cooked dandelions taste like.

As luck would have it, the backyard to our apartment is an urban dandelion farm. I would work harder to get rid of them, but my landlord hasn't been too responsive to my requests for tools. His attitude has also made me confident that the crab grass lawn hasn't been treated with anything in the recent past. So I went and foraged some local, organic, hand-picked dandelion greens from my own back yard.

Before I cooked them, I read online that dandelion greens had more vitamins than Centrum and a “slightly bitter” taste. I didn’t evaluate whether these greens impart Popeye-esque strength, but I will tell you that calling dandelion green’s “slightly bitter” is like suggesting that the titanic was a “slightly large” boat. I sauteed my dandelion greens with onions, garlic, crushed red pepper, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar. Even with all of these relatively strong flavors, the greens were just too potent to enjoy. I had a healthy serving of them, but Jamie decided they were a little intense for her. Maybe I cooked them wrong. Or maybe I should try farmed dandelion greens, which are apparently less bitter. I can’t see myself trying them again soon, but I’d be willing to take the risk if I found a great dandelion green recipe. Let me know if you’ve found a way to enjoy them!


  1. One of the classic southern techniques for preparing bitter greens is to cook them for a long time in a nice fatty pork broth. Simmer for around 30-40 minutes, then scoop out your greens and top with finely grated parmesan or similarly umami-rich cheese. Great on top of a slice of baguette.

  2. Wow. That sounds like a delicious way to improve them. I will try them that way. Thanks for the tip!