Orange is the New Dandelion
Today we’re talking dandelions
No, not THAT dandelion. Or friend of Dandelion, anyway. Orange is the New Black is back in a few days! Yay!
But allow me to digress. I haven’t blogged here as much because I’ve been working for The Man. Actually, The Women. The Moms. Three of them. They’re like, pregnant superhero science moms, really. No, honestly (except that one just had a baby and so is not pregnant, and the remaining one with the oldest kids [youngest, age 1] might be PO’d if I suggested she was pregnant again. One is definitely pregnant, but not for much longer). PhD neuroscientists solving the human body’s problems while fending off toddlers. Part of my job responsibility is removing any kryptonite — high fructose corn syrup, bouncy castles, and the pinkeye bacteria, all major distractions — from the vicinity.
Back to my point. Here is why you should drink wine. Here I am, drinking wine with my mom’s group “the slummy mummies,”when I start chatting with an occasional slummy (too busy doing science-y stuff to drink wine as often as me). We realize we both studied neuroscience (you always wondered why my cooking chemistry was so stellar). She realizes I also studied copy editing and that my kids are in full-time school for the first time. And suddenly, I’m working, like, all the time. And suddenly, I can buy, like, new shoes. While still picking up my kids! Living the dream, people. But sadly, I can’t escape to T&T half as often and have to call Pizza Pizza twice as much. So goes the lament of the working mom. Multigrain thin crust, pineapple on half.
But no matter what else I had going on, I couldn’t resist picking up some dandelion leaves I saw in the grocery store last week in the lettuce section.
You’re telling me that I could eat what most people are trying to get rid of? I’m in. We all know I’m a sucker for armageddon recipes.
(OMG that would be the BEST cookbook)
Next time I’m not going to buy, but harvest instead. And hey, if you decide to do the same, the advice I read said not to eat a dandelion that has been sprayed. You don’t need a PhD neuroscientist to tell you this, people. If you find yourself twitching after a few bites, maybe go a bit deeper into the field next time. But the flower and leaves are edible. The best leaves are the ones on the inside, and the optimal picking time is in spring before the plants have flowered so that they’re less bitter.
And bonus — this freebie nuisance plant is more nutritious than spinach or kale. Allow me to quote “money crashers.com,”:
“one half cup of dandelions contain more calcium than a glass of milk, and more iron than spinach. One cup of dandelion greens contains 19 mg of Vitamin C, and the leaves contain more Vitamin A than carrots. And if you need some Vitamin K in your life, there’s no better source than dandelion leaves; 55 mg of leaves contain a whopping 535% of your daily value.
“Dandelions are also chock full of other essential minerals such as potassium, folic acid, and magnesium.
And that’s not all. According to The New Age Herbalist by Richard Mabey, dandelion leaves are a great source of fiber (which helps relieve constipation). The high fiber content also makes you feel full, making it a great food to eat if you’re trying to cut calories and lose weight. They also help stabilize your blood sugar, making it a great food for diabetics.
“Dandelions are also incredibly high in antioxidants, and because they are a diuretic, they help cleanse your body of toxins.”
Sooo-pur food. I treated them like spinach and made a traditional Martha Stewart spinach dip. It wound up tasting slightly bitter, but I like bitter! When it was re-heated it smelled smoky. I’ve been eating the darn stuff all week (while also reading papers that sound something like those fast-talking side effect guys on Viagra commercials).
Dandelion Spinach Dip (Minus the Spinach)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Two healthy handfuls of non-sprayed dandelion leaves
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1/2C milk
- 6 oz low-fat cream cheese
- 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 3 dashes hot sauce
- 3/4C shredded mozzarella
- Delicious bread or crackers, or one of those pretty round bread bowls that hungry people will eat empty if left with nothing else
Directions: Follow Martha’s Instructions, but use dandelion leaves instead.
Results: 3/5 Yums. I enjoyed this dip, and loved the frugality and nutrition of it. My husband doesn’t love bitter, so he wasn’t a fan, but I’d feed it to the super-neuros. Think of it this way — if you enjoy rapini or arugula, go for dandelion. I’m calling it here — it’s the kale of 2019, when China will have invaded physically instead of just virtually and we’ll be left to our own devices. Muwahhhhaha. (Shouldn’t China be saying that? PS I don’t edit my own stuff, so WYSIWYG)
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