Cooking with Dandelions ~ Fritters, pancakes, crepes & salads

Dandelion Flower Fritters & Dandelion Petal Pancakes
This year, Earth Day is on April 22.  I was wondering what might be a good food to cook with in honor of the day that celebrates our planet & helps to educates all of us on how we can become better stewards of this ~ third rock from the sun ~ that we call home.  What would be a good sustainable food source to tap into, something abundant on planet earth?  Hmm, something close to home, leaving as little carbon footprint as possible...

As I was thinking about what to cook, I was looking out at the backyard & I noticed it needed mowing...and boy, I really needed to get back there & pick those dandelion flowers before they went to seed.... (you see where I'm going with this, right?)  Mother Nature was not being subtle ~ she was screaming out for me to come outside & shop from her own, free 'farmers market'. Can't get a smaller carbon footprint than that!

OK, OK, I get it. I'll be right out!  Who am I to turn down a free meal when it is set right before me?  Out I went, with scissors in hand, to harvest the generous spring bounty...  

Dandelions hiding in my strawberry bed...

I started gathering dandelion flowers & leaves, and I didn't have to wander far.  Luckily for me, I have a bunch of pesticide free plants growing in my veggie garden to pick from.  (those little airborne seeds just send plants everywhere, don't they though?)  Mother Nature had provided a wondrous spread of sunny, yellow nutritional goodness ~ literally, right at my doorstep.  Once I was done foraging in my yard, I got on the computer & surfed around the web looking for info on eating this plentiful pariah of gardens everywhere.  At springtime I get frustrated with all the beautiful, but invasive plants that take up residence in my yard, maybe this cooking session would change how I feel about the little invaders...   I was ready to get cooking.

(I found this wonderful site ~ Money Crashers ~ that was really helpful when cooking my dandelion booty, both for ideas & recipes)

Almost ready to fly free...

This is a lawn down the street from me ~ I swear it's not my yard!

So, here are the dishes I cooked with the dandelions I harvested ~ (( The one IMPORTANT!! thing to remember when  cooking/eating dandelions is to make sure they are from an untreated source, they must never have been in contact with any weed killers! ))

Dandelion Fritters
Dandelion Fritters are my new favorite food of spring...

I made some Dandelion Fritters ~ which where AMAZING!!!!   Both J & I are so excited about these.  I can honestly say, I will forever look forward the seeing the sunny, smiling faces of dandelions.  Honestly!  I am even planting some dandelion seeds, just so I can be sure of having a safe source of flowers for my fritters.  I really enjoyed mine with a little sea salt & a drop of Green Jalapeno Tabasco Sauce. I would serve these to anyone, anywhere.  It wouldn't surprise me if they were on a fancy-schmancy speciality restaurant menu somewhere, they really are that good.  They would make a wonderful appetizer for any spring fling.  J liked his with butter & maple syrup. (no surprise there!)

To make the Dandelion Fritters:

Eagle Mills Buttermilk Complete Pancake Mix ~ I LOVE THIS STUFF!!  It is very similar in makeup to Heart Healthy Bisquick & is only about $1 a box! Cheap & cheerful at its best!
I rinsed the dandelion flowers in water & then spun them dry.  I mixed up 1 cup of Eagle Mills Complete Buttermilk Pancake Mix ((all you add is water )) & them dunked the flowers into the batter.  I cooked them in a lightly greased pan, on a med/low heat, until golden on both sides.  Then I topped some with salt & Green Jalapeno Tabasco and then some with maple syrup.  They are soooo easy to make & soooo good to eat!  No dandelion flower is safe around this house any more, J is out hunting for them every day...

Dandelion Petal Pancakes 
Dandelion Petal Pancakes
Another big hit was the Dandelion Petal Pancakes.  Pulling the petals off the flowers & just adding them to your regular pancake batter is all there is to it. I used the same pancake mix I showed above.  It's a fun & simple way to eat dandelions. J really liked helping to make these. They are super kid friendly & just plain fun to make. It's the one time I want J to pull the petals off the flowers... :)

Boiled Dandelion Greens ~ with Bacon & Walnuts
I followed the directions for boiled dandelion greens & then added some olive oil, bacon bits, walnuts & salt/pepper/onion powder.  It was good, but a bit bitter, so I added some honey, too.  I ate this as a side dish & also used some as part of the filling for my Dandelion Crepes.

I made both boiled dandelion greens (using the larger, older leaves) & sauteed dandelion greens (using the smaller, younger leaves) and hands down preferred the boiled to the sauteed.  I found the sauteed greens to be more bitter & tougher to eat, even though they were younger & supposedly more tender.  It's boiled greens only from now on.  Forage, cook, eat & learn. 

Dandelion Crepes ~ petals in the crepe, greens in the filling
Dandelion Crepes

To make the Dandelion Crepes:

I thinned out some of the Dandelion Petal Pancake batter so I could cook it as a crepe.  I then filled the cooked crepe with some of the Boiled Dandelion Greens & some cottage cheese. A quick pop into the microwave to melt the cottage cheese & a drizzle of Green Jalapeno Tabasco over the top...and lunch was served.  It was very tasty.  Who knew weeds could become so upscale & taste this good?!

Garden Salad with Dandelion Greens

Wash the greens really well...

The simplest way to eat dandelion greens is to add some young, tender leaves to your salad.  It's a bitter green, so a little goes a long way.  Treat it just like you would any other bitter leaf lettuce.  Make sure you give the leaves a good wash before adding them to the salad. (you could add some dandelion petals for color, too, if you are so inclined) Then just toss the mixed greens with your favorite salad dressing & serve.

I must say, working on this post has given me a whole new appreciation of dandelions & of all the ways you can enjoy eating them.  Now, I'm not about to go so far as to dig up dandelion roots & roast them for a cup of tea, but I will buy a box of dandelion tea next time I go to the shops.  Why?  Just because ~ I figure I might as well try tasting it that way, too.  Hope you try one of the recipes.  If you only try one, I suggest the Dandelion FrittersEnjoy! 

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