Introduction: Eat Your Weeds, Dandelion Salad
Did you know that dandelions are chock full of vitamins and minerals? One cup of chopped dandelion greens has your daily recommended value of vitamin A and over 5 times your daily value of vitamin K. It seems odd that we spend money on vitamins in pill form in the grocer store and at the same time try to kill the sources growing in our front yard. Now granted, dandelion salad is not everyones cup of tea, but how do you know unless you try it.
My dandelion salad has a way of blancing the bitterness of dandelions that I think makes it delicious and good for you too. Read on to find how to make your very own dandelion salad.
Disclaimer: Only harvest plants from yards that you know have not been sprayed with herbicide or pesticide. Use common sense, and if you can't identify the wild plants, please do not eat them!
Step 1: Find Your Dandelions
Now is the time of the year to start harvesting dandelions for salad. Dandelions are perfect foods for the "hungry gap". Basically the "hungry gap" is the time between when your winter stores are used up and the new vegetables can be harvested in the spring and summer. Now, with the convenience of modern stores and refrigeration, we do not worry about it much. But the hungry gap is also an excellent time to experiment with natures bounty, finding fresh growing things to try out.
The reason that you want to harvest dandelions now is that they are small. Typically the smaller a dandelion plant is, the less bitter it is. You want to harvest before there are any flowers, and when the plants are less than the size of your hand.
If your yard looks like mine, you will be able to get enough dandelions for a good salad in just a few minutes. Make sure that you are not picking up grass or dead leaves with your dandelions, you will be surprised at how well hidden some things can be.
Step 2: Prepping Your Meal
First wash your dandelions! If you would like you can use a little bit of salted water as this seems to remove some of the bitterness. You will see dirt get washed toward the bottom, while the dandelion leaves tend to float. Use cold water to keep your salad from wilting.
Next Chop some bacon. About 1 strip of bacon is more than enough for a small dandelion salad. You chop it before you fry it because you are going to toss it into the dandelion greens while it is hot and wilt the greens slightly.
While you are frying the bacon, you can also poach an egg. Basically you crack an egg into simmering water and cook it until the white is firm but the yolk is still runny. Be careful as the pot tends to foam up with excess egg white.
Step 3: Toss the Bacon With the Greens
Here you wilt the greens. Wilting them slightly seems to remove a bit of the bitterness, and makes a kind of salad dressing. Take the bacon bits straight from the frying pan, drain them slightly, and then toss with your dandelion greens. Grind a little fresh pepper and give your salad that little extra zing.
You want the dandelion greens to be slightly shiny, and a little bit wilted from the bacon.
Step 4: Enjoy!
Top the salad with a poached egg and admire your handiwork. A salad created from little more than the weeds in your yard. The flavors of the salad are amazingly complex. The bacon lends a smokiness, the egg a sweet richness, and the dandelion just a touch of bitter that makes you want another bite. You can almost feel yourself recharge after eating a salad like this.
Go ahead, make one yourself, and see what you think.
Thank you in advance for your comments, and I hope that you enjoyed my first instructable!