Friday, May 24, 2013


This year we are resting our garden, a year of jubilee of sorts. The area we use to grow our goods has been worked, and pushed, and tilled, and faithful to us for around seven summers and we thought, as a way of saying thanks, we would allow it to rest. To just be. To gather steam and health and goodness for the next line of growing seasons.

This summer of celebration will hopefully allow us the time and space to do a couple things: re-design the garden, create more permanent raised beds, and feed the soil in a variety of ways [like compost and lasagna gardening - sounds delicious right?!].   

Taking a break from the seed starting, the watering, the weeding [although there is still a bit of weeding], the growing , the worrying, and all the other things that come with growing a garden has allowed me to notice the other edibles that surround where we live. What many view as weeds [myself included] are actually nutrient-dense, delicious foods that generally provide our bodies with exactly what we need when we need it. 

This inspired me to start a series of posts dedicated to these awesome edibles. To give you a little peak at what our yards and forests hold, how they can be used as both food and medicine, and hopefully inspire you to take a little walk around your yard with shovel and sheers in hand instead of the weed killer.

For each post, I'll give you the most common and recognizable name of each plant; parts of the plant used; whether the plant should be used externally, internally, or both; it's energies; medicinal uses and any precautions; and a recipe or two.

There are plenty of great herbal books out there should you choose to dive deeper [you can find a list of my favorites at the bottom of this post], so I will keep it short and simple here. 

May you walk outside with new eyes and a sense of adventure. May you find a bit of jubilee this season.

Special Note: Remember, whenever you are introducing your body to something new, educate yourself on what you are eating / using [especially if you have health issues / concerns]. Many of the herbs found here will be safe for most but each of us has a different composition and will respond to foods and herbs in our own unique way. 

[DANDELION: flower, leaves, roots]

Energy: [leaves] cool & bitter, [roots] cool, bitter, & sweet
Use: internal & external
For Infants & Children: Yes 
Precautions: some people may have an allergic reaction to the flowers and stems [generally those also allergic to chamomile and yarrow] - simply discontinue use if a rash occurs; should be avoided during antibiotic treatment; should be avoided if you have gallstones

Key Nutrients: vitamins A, B, C, and D; iron; potassium; calcium; magnesium; inulin; sesquiterpenes; carotenoids

Medicinal Uses: detoxification [one of the best liver decongestants and cleansers], blood purification and blood builder [one of the best available], aid for digestion, high vitamin and mineral content, enzyme balance, aids stomachaches, hepatitis, hypoglycemia, decreases blood pressure, anemia [again, one of the best], diuretic [especially for fluid retention], cystitis, nephritis, weight loss / appetite, energy and endurance, bladder infection, constipation, hemorrhoids, indigestion, IBS, gallstones, osteoporosis, good for reproductive organs, PMS, skin diseases / issues [acne, age spots, eczema, yellow jaundice], bodily restoration and rejuvination, cooling affect on the body

There is a reason this baby is tough to remove from your yard - all of those fighting, tenacious properties may be what make this plant such a nutritious food and powerful medicine.

Common Culinary Uses: salad greens, pasta, pesto, wilted and / or marinated greens, coffee substitute [roasted root], green drinks, wine, soups

1 package of gluten free pasta, spaghetti style
1/8 c. fresh mint, minced
1/4 c. fresh dandelion greens, washed / spun dry / cut into small strips
1/2 c. beet greens, cut into small strips
1/2 - 1 c. chard, cut into small strips
1/4 - 1/2 c. Everyday Vinaigrette [see recipe below]
1 - 2 T. dulse flakes
sea salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to manufacturer instructions. While pasta is cooking, cut the greens and mix vinaigrette. When pasta is just soft [or al dente if you prefer], drain water and return pasta to pot. Quickly add vinaigrette and greens quickly tossing. Cover and let stand a few minutes to wilt the greens. Toss again. Add salt, pepper, and dulse flakes and stir well. Serve warm or cool.

This is really good served with Shaved Asparagus Salad [I half the dressing this recipe calls for because it is a bit too intense for my flavor. Start with a small amount of dressing and add until you've reached the flavor you desire. I also use Parma-Zaan in stead of Parmesan cheese].

Recipe from Grow, Cook, Eat by Willi Galloway

In a pint size jar combine:

1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. honey or maple syrup
2 tsp. fine chopped shallot [optional]
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/3 c. chopped herbs
3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

Cover tightly and shake vigorously for a minute or so. Store in refrigerator to keep longer and remove 5 - 10 minutes prior to use [oil will solidify over time].

You can also add fresh dandelion greens to this Caesar salad, green smoothie, spring detox tea, spring vegetable pasta saladsocca cakes - the options are endless!


Hands On Healing Remedies by Stephanie Tourles
Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar
Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar
The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra
Prescription for Herbal Healing by Phyllis A. Balch
The How To Herb Book by Velma Keith & Monteen Gordon
Mother Earth Living Magazine's "All About Dandelions"


Danijela K. said...

Great post!!! I am a huge fan of dandelion. I even dry the young leaves for the winter.

I love both your writing and recipes!

TINA, MS, Holistic Nutrition, LEED-AP said...

Thank you Danijela!