Natures Larder: Dandelions

Edible plants and wild foods, including edible weeds like dandelions, are all around us, and although we have created this website with the primary aim of presenting how we are growing much of our own food from a tiny patio garden, we are also a keen advocate of foraging for wild foods and taking advantage of what nature has provided us for free.

Supplementing the food we grow with wild foods that grow locally is not only a fun and fascinating skill, it could also be potentially life-saving in an emergency situation, and help bolster and maintain our emergency food supply.

Foraging for food is a skill we lost a long time ago when supermarkets became a regular part of our lives. Fortunately, it does appear to be making a bit of a come-back, and as far as I am concerned, that’s a good thing.

We’ve already discussed the principals behind survival gardening and revealed just how delicate our supply-chain infrastructure is, so as a moderate preparedness fan, just sticking to the limited produce we are growing in our small garden makes no sense when we can take advantage of the food and useful plants that nature provides for us in the local wild.

The Dandelion
To most people, this is a nuisance weed that makes your lawn less attractive, but to the better-educated, this little yellow flower is a miracle plant that can provide a whole myriad of healthy edible benefits.

The flower heads can be used to make a lovely herbal tea, the leaves make terrific salad leaves and can be eaten raw, and the flower heads also make delicious fritters.

It can be used to make a medicine that covers a wide range of ailments from urinary disorders to gallbladder infections, from chronic joint pain to skin complaints.

The sap can be applied to warts, causing them to disappear.

Infusing the roots and drinking as a tea encourages a detoxification process within the body.

The roots can be dried and ground to be used exactly like coffee.

It is good for liver and kidney function and has been used by herbalists since time began.

They are also a rich source of potassium, iron, Zink as well as vitamins B complex, C, D & A.

The leaves and flowers can be gathered at any time, but the roots must be gathered during spring.

Our most favorite benefit of all is wine. This plant makes a nice, light subtle flavored wine. When harvested and processed in the spring, the wine is ready for the table at Christmas.

We made some dandelion wine earlier in the spring. Here’s a video to show how to do it. Enjoy!