April 14, 2022
Dandelion is one of the first flowers to bloom in spring, this yellow ray of sunshine brings the hope of spring after long dark winters here in Maine. I eagerly await the arrival of spring each year, so I can see the fields on the farm turn into a sea of beautiful yellow.
Dandelions have a long history as a staple food and medicine. Many of our ancestors would use the yellow blossoms for wine, fritters and baking, and eat the tender green leaves and roots as a springtime tonic to help cleanse the body and support the liver and kidneys.
I’ve always felt that if more people understood the virtues and benefits of this sweet plant, people might think twice about poisoning their lawns and the environment with harmful herbicides. Herbicides can cause serious damage to our livers and kidneys and recent legal decisions have affirmed that some can cause cancer. They’re harmful to us, but to other plants, pollinators, animals, birds and insects, leaching into streams, rivers and polluting our precious sacred water systems.
So stop using herbicides and start harvesting this amazing plant!
When harvesting any plant make sure you know the land and where you're harvesting from to make sure it hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals.
I harvest Dandelion throughout the year for food and or medicine and primarily harvest only from my gardens. If you don’t have gardens of your own, reach out to your local organic farmer—guarantee they’ll be eager for someone to pull up some dandelions for them!
All parts of the plant are edible and medicinal but today we’re going to talk about the roots.
The tender roots can be gathered in the spring for food and gathered in fall for medicine. Harvesting dandelion roots is a journey into the underground. Their long taproots will take you deep into the earth. I always love to imagine each layer of soil as I dig them up with my hands. Feeling the shapes of rocks and soil structure and how many earthworms I encounter.
My absolute favorite way to eat the tender spring dandelion roots is roasting them! I like to gather the roots and cut them into sticks then rub with olive oil, salt and pepper, and divide them into two groups. One group gets smoked paprika rubbed on them and the other nutritional yeast. I bake them in the oven until soft with a slightly crunchy outside. Basically dandelion baked fries. SO Good.
Want to learn more about Dandelions and how to work with them? Sign up for our Plant of the Month Medicine Making Kits. Dandelion is the Plant of the Month for April!
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