Photos and Text by Jennifer Nu
All parts of the ubiquitous dandelion plant are edible. It just depends on the time of year. Flowers have been up awhile now. Some of my favorite preparations of dandelion flowers include dandelion vinegar, dandelion oil and salve, dandelion honey, dandelion bud capers (thanks to Elise Krohn!), and also dandelion leaves and flowers scrambled in eggs. The possibilities are endless and the benefits are many.
This easy dandelion fritter recipe made for a fun dinner after a full day of harvesting and cleaning dandelions.
- Batter ingredients
- 1 cup of dandelion flowers
- 1 cup flour of your choice (white, Alaskan barley, rice, etc.)
- 1 cup water or milk
- 1-2 eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Oil or rendered animal fat for pan or deep-frying
- Mix all the batter ingredients.
- Heat up the oil until appropriate frying temperature (when a drop of water sputters).
- Dredge dandelion flowers in the batter until completely covered.
- Drop the battered flowers in the hot oil. Flip if needed to fry evenly.
- Remove from the oil when golden. Make more batter if needed.
- Avoid harvesting dandelions growing in areas sprayed with pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals. Also avoid dandelions on the side of the road or dandelions in areas where dogs might mess on them.
- Reach out to local gardeners and farmers as a safe source of ‘clean’ dandelions. Most likely, they will be happy to have you help out. It’s also an excellent way to weave the web of social connections to make the food system stronger.
- Some preparations of dandelion flowers call for using petals only since the green calyx and sepals are bitter. Be aware of how much time it takes to process dandelion flowers and take care to only harvest what you have time to process.
- If you missed out on harvesting dandelion greens and flowers this season, it’s not too late. Just pay attention to where they are now and come back for the roots!
- Follow Planet Alaska on Facebook to watch Tlingit ethnobotanist Vivian Mork clean dandelion flowers: https://www.facebook.com/PlanetAlaska/
- For more information and other dandelion recipes, check out Wild Foods and Medicines, a blog by Elise Krohn in Olympia, Washington: http://wildfoodsandmedicines.com/dandelion/
- Excerpt from Alaska Wilderness Medicines by Eleanor Vierek: http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/curriculum/Books/Viereck/viereckdandelion.html
Musings on harvesting
As you harvest dandelions, notice how your awareness and vision shifts depending on what you’re harvesting. Use your powers of observation to deepen your knowledge, connection, and appreciation for this plant. Perhaps you will notice small insects sleeping among the petals. Perhaps some buds are more tightly closed than others. What other plants are growing nearby? Each harvesting experience is an opportunity to learn more and celebrate nature’s resilience with this hardy plant.