Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Holly's Top Ten Edible Herbs...#14

And of course, the last edible is actually at the top of my list, one of the most delightful and important herbs I can mention, and one of the ones I simply must include with my spring meals. Dandelion greens are wonderfully bitter, sharp, crunchy, tasty, and bright. They offer a depth of flavor that, in my opinion, is only matched by cultivated broccoli rabe.

Dandelion greens can, of course, be eaten raw, right where you’re standing in the garden, or where you get out of the car between the road and the house. Of course you don’t spray your yard, so unless they’ve been the unfortunate visitor from the family dog, they should be fine to eat. Early spring dandelion greens are more bitter than their fall leaves (same plant, different harvest) and are collectively known as “spring bitters” or cleansers, since they are hepatic and help the liver do its job of removing toxins and cleaning out from a long, sluggish winter. Raw dandelion greens provide iron, toxin removing support for the liver, and plenty of minerals to make them a top choice for your evening meal.

You can also cook them. They don’t need much—just a swish around a hot skillet and they’re ready to be sprinkled with vinegar. Or top your pizza with chopped dandelion greens and add goat cheese and garlic, and whatever mushrooms you have available. This makes an excellent change from spinach pizza and gives a boldness that we don’t often expect. I also chop dandelion greens and toss them in with pasta or sauce just before serving, so they are lightly wilted and soft but not fully cooked.

To Your Whole Life,