Most frequently, dandelion is used medicinally to heal the liver, however, this widely used herb has been used over thousands of years, from China to Canada and Arabia to America. It has been used to treat maladies of all shape and size, as a supportive all-over tonic, and as a delicious food. In her book Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, Rosemary Gladstar calls dandelion “one of the great tonic herbs of all time.”
I was reading and article by Yashpal Chhabra about dandelions at this fantastic website. Chhabra compiles a great list of information about the magical dandelion, including a list of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients that dandelion provides (zinc, boron, copper, molybdenum, cobalt, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, iron, calcium, magnesium, thiamine, riboflavin, beta-carotene, fiber, and even protein!). Dandelion cures liver disease, purifies the blood, clears up skin eruptions, dissolves kidney stones, can treat diarrhea AND constipation, can balance blood sugar, and lower cholesterol. He quotes a Russian chemist called Gerasimova as stating that
“dandelion [is] an example of a harmonious combination of trace elements, vitamins, and other biologically active substances in ratios optimal for a human organism.”
Of course when I read about these wonder herbs, full of bright nutrition and health giving agents, my mind immediately jumps to fermentation. Any herb can be fermented, which makes the nutritive aspects that much easier for our bodies to process and utilize. Therefore, I’ve prepared a fermented dandelion recipe from foraged dandelions.
Rosemary Gladstar says that you can safely use the leaves, stems, and roots of the plant for medicinal and culinary use. When harvesting the greens for eating, it’s best to harvest in the springtime, when the leaves are still tender and less bitter. Foraging dandelions is easiest in the spring after a good rain, both because they are easier to clean and because you can often get the whole root to come out as well.
For future information, I read in one of my favorite books The Flowering Plants of Great Britain by Annie Pratt (written in 1855) that if you’re planning to roast the roots to make a coffee alternative, you should dig them up in the fall when the plants energy goes down rather than up, and be sure not to scrape off the brown skin, which makes them more aromatic. I’ll be trying this in the fall. I recently learned that most coffee beans are fermented in order allow bacteria to break down a layer of mucilage that encases the coffee bean. I think that a fermented dandelion root coffee alternative could be pretty interesting! I did pull a and clean a number of roots today, but for this recipe I will stick with the stems and leaves.
Fermented Dandelion Greens-
What you need-
- A big handful of cleaned dandelion leaves
- herbs of your choice (I used dry rosemary, cayenne, bay leaves, and black sesame seed)
- one tablespoon of salt (I used a smoked salt for extra flavor)
- two cups of water
- one scoop of Avellana Vegan cultures
- a fermentation station
Put the herbs and salt in a pot with two cups of water. Bring to a boil and let cool to room temperature.
I cut the dandelion greens in half and stuffed into a 3/4 quart jar.
Pour the brine over the dandelion greens. Add in a level blue scoop of Avellana cultures.
Make sure the leaves don’t float out of the brine water, if they do they may start to decompose. Cover loosely and Place them in the fermentation station for 24 hours. They will be tangy with a nice bitter bite! You can cook them as you would cook greens like kale or spinach, or chop them and eat them fresh out of the brine.