Top Recipes for a Dandy Spring
by Ana Palles
Vendors in the Irish Farmer’s market at Kinvarra will often sell small bottles of amber colored dandelion syrup. Excited customers eagerly tuck away their purchases dreaming of fluffy pancakes and warm scones with a sensuous pot of fresh picked herbal tea from the garden. Here in Colorado, dandelions sprout early with just a few days of warm weather.
Dandelion has a long history as a medicinal plant across Asia and Europe and still common in the herbal apothecary of today. The entire plant has benefits, from the roots which are used as an overall health tonic, to the leaves and flowers which are high in iron, Vitamin A, C and Zinc. Their bitter taste highlights its properties as a digestive aid, supporting and clearing gall bladder and liver functions. Rather than seeing dandelions as a pesky weed, many civilizations saw the dandelion as a welcome spring friend.
Spring brings a feeling of freshness and dandelions support our body’s clearing, detoxifying to flourish in summer. With this in mind, we offer you 5 of our favorite dandelion recipes for Spring. We hope you enjoy!
Note: Remember to use only dandelions that have not been exposed to chemicals, pesticides, pets, or anything else toxic. Also, it is a good idea to spread fresh-picked flowers onto a piece of newspaper and leave them in the shade for about a half hour to allow whatever bugs may be in residence to leave.
- 4 full cups of Dandelion flowers
- 1 quart of water
- 3 cups sugar
- Juice of an orange or lemon (optional)
Dandelion Blossom Spring Cake
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 Tablespoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup dandelion blossom syrup
- 1 ½ cups of melted butter
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups of Dandelion blossom petals
- 8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
- ½ cup walnuts
- ½ cup coconut
- Demararra sugar for sprinkling on top.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add sugar. Beat melted butter, syrup and sugar. Add dry ingredients and eggs and beat until creamy, but do not overbeat. Stir in walnuts, coconut, flower petals and drained pineapple. Pour batter into a greased 9x11 cake pan. Sprinkle about a quarter cup of demarrara sugar on top. Bake about 40 minutes at 350 degrees. This cake reminds me of the favorite southern Hummingbird cake. Enjoy!
Dandelion Greens Salad with Honey Lavender Vinaigrette
- 3 cups loosely packed washed young dandelion greens, cut stems and young leaves into small pieces.
- 4 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 2 cups butter lettuce, chopped
- Herbed croutons
Toss greens, scallions and strawberries together with dressing. Add cheese and croutons. Serve immediately.
Honey Lavender Vinaigrette Dressing
- Makes 1 1/2 cups
- 1 tablespoon dried lavender buds
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lavender buds can be found in most natural foods stores and herbal apothecaries. Place lavender, water, vinegar and honey in saucepan. Simmer and reduce by half. Let cool to room temperature. Whisk olive oil into honey vinegar mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cup of flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Canola or Olive oil for frying
Take one of the flowers and hold it by the greens at the base of the flower petals. Dip the petals into the batter and twirl until the flower is covered. Drop it into the skillet, flower side down. Continue dipping and dropping flowers, checking the first ones every once in a while to see if they are brown. When they’ve lightly browned, flip them over and brown them on the other side. When they’re brown on both sides remove them from the skillet and drain the excess oil on paper towel.
You can modify this recipe by adding additional herbs to the batter such as herbes de provence or even a dash of curry. You can also make these into sweet fritters by foregoing the paprika and adding instead a tablespoon of sugar to the batter and a ½ tsp of vanilla or orange extract. Serve warm with powdered sugar or syrup.
Cream of Dandelion Soup
- 4 cups chopped dandelion leaves
- 2 cups dandelion flower petals
- 2 cups dandelion buds
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 peeled chopped apple
- 1 Tbsp butter or olive oil
- 1 cup chopped leeks (or fresh spring onions)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups water
- 1 cups half-n-half
- 2 tsp salt
Gently boil dandelion leaves in 6 cups water. Pour half of the water out (can be poured out into the garden). In a heavy-bottom soup pot, sauté leeks, apple and garlic in butter or olive oil until tender. Stir in diced potatoes. Add 4 cups water and boil until tender. Add dandelion leaves, flower petals, buds, and salt. Simmer gently 45 minutes or so. Blend the soup mixture until creamy. This can be done using either an immersion hand blender or by ladling a cup or two of the soup into a standard kitchen blender and processing. Remember when using hot liquids in a blender only fill the container half way and allow the steam to vent.
Return the creamed mixture to the pot. Add half and half and simmer a few minutes more. Add pepper to taste.