The Daily Spud

...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Eat ‘Em

Dandelion Flowers

The ubiquitous dandelion

Bloomin’ dandelions, eh?

Claiming squatters rights to lawns and gardens everywhere, while gardeners and lawn keepers do their best to evict them. It’s a losing battle, frankly. Dandelions have sheer force of numbers on their side and they’re just too comfortable in the open, sunny, newly turned sod of the garden.

I, however, have a cunning plan. I happen to know that my yellow-headed tenants are blessed with lots of edible possibilities, therefore I shall simply eat them. Ha!

In fact, I might even advertise for more dandelions to move in:

“Young dandelion leaves, wanted for salad”

“Seeking alternative bitter greens, for stir-frying and more, apply within”

“Frying opportunities for seasoned dandelion flowers, genuine callers only”

Fried Dandelion Flowers

Fried Dandelion Flowers

Oh yes, allow me to introduce you to fried dandelion flowers. Would that the solution to all of my weed problems were this simple. Dipped in seasoned flour or batter and fried, dandelion flowers can make a tasty (not to mention novel) snack – once you can successfully get your head around the idea of eating them, that is.

Notwithstanding the fact that I am quite happy to eat my wild garlic flowers, that I have used lilac florets to make ice cream and have eaten both stuffed courgette blossoms and nasturtiums, I will admit that eating flowers still presents me with somewhat of a mental hurdle. It’s one that I’m willing to overcome, however, so dandelions-in-residence beware. I have a frying pan and I’m not afraid to use it.

Fried Dandelion Flowers

The trick here is to remove as much green material from the dandelion flower head as possible, while keeping the flower head intact. The green parts lend bitterness, so you want to minimise that, while the yellow flowers are mild-tasting and faintly sweet.

Before frying, you can dredge the dandelion flowers in seasoned flour or dip in batter. Personally, I like the combination of dipping, first in beaten egg, then in some seasoned polenta, which is what I’ve described below. The quantities are approximate and the seasonings can, of course, be changed as suits your mood and taste.

You’ll need:
  • approx. 20 dandelion flower heads, stalks and extraneous green parts removed
  • olive oil for frying
  • 2 tblsp polenta (cornmeal)
  • pinch of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • 1 egg, beaten
The Steps:
  • Rinse your dandelion flowers and gently pat dry using some kitchen paper.
  • Place a frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, add a thin layer of oil to the pan.
  • Mix the polenta with the salt, black pepper, dried thyme and dried oregano.
  • Dip the flowers first in the beaten egg and then in the seasoned polenta.
  • Fry in batches, stalk side up, for around 3 minutes or until golden. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
  • Eat as a snack or use to surprise, and maybe even delight, unsuspecting family and friends.
The Variations:
  • You can vary the herbs to suit your taste or go all out by dipping the flowers in an eggy batter and deep frying them.
The Results:
  • Snack for 2-3

Dandelion Tea

Perhaps we should talk, not so much about edibility as drinkability when it comes to dandelions. The flowers have long been used to make dandelion wine, the leaves to make dandelion tea and the slow roasted roots to make dandelion coffee.

I have yet to try dandelion wine, but I can tell you that my attempt at dandelion coffee tasted bitter and soupy, so I don’t think I’ll be trying that again. My dandelion tea, on the other hand, made as described to me by my mother, was light, earthy and far more palatable. She remembers it being made as a drink during that period of wartime privation known here as The Emergency.

As dandelions are known to be a diuretic, this is probably something that you will want to avoid drinking in extremely large quantities.

You’ll need:
  • small dandelion leaves – 10 small leaves should make around 1 tsp of dried, crumbled leaves, enough for one cup of tea
You’ll also need:
  • A baking tray to hold the leaves in a single layer.
The Steps:
  • Preheat your oven to 90C.
  • Wash your dandelion leaves, then place in a single layer on a baking tray and into the oven until the leaves are dry and crispy, around 7-10 minutes.
  • Remove the dandelion leaves and crumble them, discarding the midribs.
  • In a mug or cup, pour boiling water over about a tsp of crumbled dandelion leaves and leave to infuse for about 5 minutes, before straining and drinking.
The Variations:
  • You can vary the strength as you wish – I found that this amount made a light tea that was not too bitter, but you may wish to experiment to find a strength that suits your taste.
The Results:
  • Cup of dandelion tea for one.

36 Comments

  1. WOW! Love this! And that picture of all the fried dandelions is truly beautiful.

  2. They’re so pretty – I’m not sure I could bring myself to eat them! Great idea, though. I’ve also wondered why people hate dandelions so much; I guess one man’s weed is another woman’s flower – or snack, in your case!

  3. wow… that’s amazing… never knew what all could be done with dandies:) Thank you for posting such good information.

  4. I’m so intrigued by this considering there is a ton of dandelions in my forest of a backyard :-)

  5. Is this something you have learned from another, or have you just gone hog wild as me? I love it, we are related, I just know it!

    The greens are great when sauteed with roasted garlic and a few root vegetables or such…we eat them, although the Sapranos episode still rings out in my head- Tony tells the dad when he offers them “Dad are those from the sand lot across the street where all the dogs pee (nicer world)”…

    I had them in Chicago at an authentic Greek place, and we fell in love, now I have to make the flowers! Cuz :)

    Oh, I do not want to spoil a surprise but do not be shocked when I come calling in a week…or my spirit…

  6. passed this along to
    http://www.artofeating.com
    when they had posted a facebook photo of their crop o’weeds
    within hours they fried some up and posted ‘delish’

    irish wisdom meets vermont surplus
    thanks !

  7. Waw!! I love to eat dandelions in a salad!! But these fried dandelions flowers rock, girl!

    I also love the tea!! I also loved the title,..very funny!

  8. Daily Spud

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    aoife mc: Thanks! Don’t think I’ll never look at dandelions in the same way again :)

    Valley Writer: dandelions do get a lot of negative press, but I think it makes much more sense to look at them in a more positive, edible light…

    Shree: thanks for dropping in – never knew there was quite so much you could do with dandelions myself until now!

    Tanya: and that’s the thing, there are dandelions all over the place, so why not try them out as food (and thanks for stopping by, btw)

    Julia: welcome along and thank you!

    Chef E: I’ll be ready whenever you call :) Love the Sopranos quote, I’ll have to go and search out that episode!

    bob: thank you for posting the link over at artofeating – lovely to get that feedback

    Sophie: Glad you liked it all! :) Even I was surprised that there was so much you could do with dandelions,

  9. I’d heard that danelion greens were quite tasty but this is the first I’ve seen of the fried flowers! I will look at our dandelion-infested backyard with new and hungry eyes. 8-)

  10. Never seen the fried flowers either. They look pretty either way.

  11. Daily Spud

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Tangled Noodle: it really does make you rethink the whole question of what’s a weed, on the one hand, and what’s for dinner, on the other :D

    Duo Dishes: they do look pretty and, if you are so inclined, they are worth a try

  12. Great idea: I’ve been eating zucchini flowers whenever I get my hands on them in the same fashion.

    Let me tell you something about polenta: it’s a dish, not an ingredient. Cornmeal is what you’re planning on dredging the flowers in.

  13. Daily Spud

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Hi Bill and thanks for both the comment and clarification re: polenta and cornmeal – I will admit to having a tendency to use the terms interchangeably (as do others – I’ve just been looking at a Nigella Lawson recipe that does likewise). It probably doesn’t help that cornmeal is often sold under the label polenta, adding to the confusion!

  14. Ok, I admit to making Lavendar Vanilla ice cream with my lavendar flowers, but I’ve never eaten the nasturtiums that flower beautifully each summer, nor dandilion greens. Can’t seem to take that hurdle. Think I’ll start with the nasturtiums.

  15. These are beautiful. I remember being taught that the dandelion leaves were edible and could be thrown in with salads, but I had no idea about the flowers. Hmmm…maybe I have a bigger garden out there than I thought.

  16. Now I am a tried and true lover of D greens but flowers? You know I am to try this. You KNOW I am. GREG

  17. Daily Spud

    Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Lea Ann: Good luck with trying the nasturtiums. Isn’t it amazing how much of a hurdle that can be?

    Lori: indeed – it does make you look at a garden in a whole new light :)

    sippitysup: I do know that you are going to try these. I, for one, cannot wait to see them get the sippitysup treatment!

  18. Wow! I’ve never heard of fried dandelions before…amazing! I have to say you’re inspirational with your willingness to try new foods, it’s so great to see. Plus you’re called Aoife which is always a bonus ;)
    Seriously though, I’m not sure if I would be brave to try them, but then again anything fried usually tastes good.

  19. Daily Spud

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Thanks Aoife (great name, by the way ;)) – I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to try them at first, but glad I did!

  20. I have hunted, cooked, made tea of, coffee of, wine of, dandelion and many other plants and odd fishes, but I have never seen a recipe for fried dandelion flowers. WOW! Cant wait for Spring. Hope our 2 yer drought ends soon! Marvelously wild idea and recipe. Geecarman

  21. Daily Spud

    Monday, October 24, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    Hey Allison, glad I could bring you something new (especially as it sounds like you’ve done a lot more with dandelions than I) – hope you enjoy these when the spring comes (and that your drought ends soon too!)

  22. Love the idea of frying up the flowers! Thank you so much for sharing with me :)

  23. Dandelion cookies are good too. Add about 1/2 cup of just the blossoms without the green to your favorite sugar cookie or oatmeal cookie recipe. I split the flower in half and scrape the yellow out with a finger nail. Dandy Blend and LearningHerbs.com have recipes also for the cookies but your favorite recipe can be adapted. They turn a pretty yellow color too.

  24. Daily Spud

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Wow, Debbie, dandelion cookies – I’m definitely going to have to try those!

  25. we have machines for drying Dandelion Flowers

  26. Daily Spud

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Good to know Sophia!

  27. Fried dandelion blossoms taste like fried morel mushrooms. I too like to dip mine in an egg wash then in seasoned flour

  28. Daily Spud

    Friday, February 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Wow Edith, I’m going to have to fry some more flowers and remind myself of the taste – they’d certainly be easier to find than morels, that’s for sure!

  29. When I was a kid, my dad would have my sister and I gather dozens of dandelion blossoms and he would use them to make dandelion wine. Delicious! Also, I use dandelion blossoms to make dandelion jelly. It is so very good! Definitely a must try!

  30. Daily Spud

    Friday, February 8, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Ooh, dandelion jelly – sounds like a must try to me Trish

  31. My kids and I made dandelion jelly last year — you haven’t experienced the smell of honey until you boil dandelion “juice” (flowers steeped in hot water up to 24 hours) on the stove with pectic and sugar. My house smelled of honey for days. The jelly tastes like lemon honey, and people have been so surprised when they eat it. My neighbor insisted I had put honey into it. I highly recommend trying it if you like to make jelly. Recipes abound on the internet.

  32. You’ve completely sold me on the idea of dandelion jelly Lori – will definitely have to try it out.

  33. My mom and I used to gather them in the spring. They are really delicious fried. Wash well and dip in egg then flower and fry till brown. They taste a little like fried mushrooms. So yummy.

  34. Thanks for your comment Song and glad to hear that I’m not the only one who has taken to frying dandelion flowers!

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