A Pure Jeevan family members asks:
How do I eat dandelions? I heard they are good for me, but I tasted one and they are so bitter. I don't know how I could ever eat them, even if they are supposed to be so good for me. Can you help
First, congratulations on being so open-minded when it comes to trying new things! Too many people never move far away from their comfort zones, especially when it comes to diet, and they miss out on a lot. So, good for you to at least consider and then try dandelion greens!
If you're new to eating dandelion greens, you might not be prepared for the bitter taste that may greet you when taking a bite of some greens from your yard. Never fear, for not all dandelion greens are so shockingly bitter. If the greens are young, and they have not flowered at all, they are more mild. The older, more mature greens (especially ones that have already produced a flower) are extremely bitter and difficult for most people to consume.
When you purchase dandelion greens from a store, they are cultivated leaves (not wild like you'll find growing in your back yard), and tend to be more mild (but still on the bitter side). Many raw foodies do not eat straight dandelion leaves. They are either added in small quantities to salads (finely chopped up and mixed with a variety of sweeter greens), tossed into a smoothie (in small quantities by many individuals, but there are those who have grown used to the bitter taste and add larger amounts to their drinks and salads), or added to vegetable wraps for added nutrients.
The best way to balance the bitter taste of dandelion greens is to add some lemon juice and a source of sweetner (either fresh fruit, dates, or another type of healthy sugar). Definitely make sure you harvest the young, tender leaves if you're picking them yourself. Also, be sure you know how to properly identify the dandelion plant.
If you're not a fan of bitter-tasting greens, you can still enjoy dandelions and many of the health benefits they bring with them. Try the flower, instead of the green, to see what you think! Every part of the dandelion plant is edible (flower, leaves, and even the roots). Our friend Melissa shared a fun, sweet recipe using dandelion flowers on her Food Under Foot website. So, be sure to check that out if you'd like to make some delicious and nutritious cookies! While on her site, click on the word "Dandelion" in the Tags section on the right of her blog and you'll be taken to more articles including information about dandelions.
Dandelions are known to be beneficial for the body in many different ways. They are useful for those who experience blood sugar imbalances, blood pressure issues, low iron, high cholesterol, sluggish livers, intestinal upset, obesity, and even acne. Of course, those with severe health issues should consult with a qualified health practitioner before consuming large amounts of such a healing wild edible. The natural bitter taste in the plant is most likely nature's way of making sure we don't take in more medicine than our bodies can handle. ;-)