Dandelions are persistent little buggers. You’ve gotten out the herbicide every year just so you can spray every dandelion you see in your yard, and they still keep coming back. The fact is that dandelions are hardy little plants and they multiply so fast that, if you miss even one, they will just come right back. You should seriously get rid of the herbicide or else put it to better uses, because it’s very likely that you’re just making your yard toxic for plants that you actually want. Besides, you may well be doing both society and yourself a disservice by dismissing these little plant warriors as weeds.
Dandelions are unassuming little plants, but they’re also packed with a nutritional wallop. Just one cup of dandelion greens has 111% of the recommend daily value of Vitamin A, 32% RDA of Vitamin C, 535% RDA of Vitamin K and 10% of the RDA of calcium. At only 25 calories per cup, dandelion greens make an excellent addition to a salad. Harvest them during early spring before the flower starts to grow to catch them at their best.
Harvest them. Seriously, they’re free.
Obviously, this is a cheap source of food that is highly useful if you’ve been trying to keep your grocery bill under control. This is why I say spraying dandelions should be counted as a crime against humanity. We’ve spent billions fighting hunger in America when the answer could have been growing in our back yards all along. Seriously, if you collect some of those white floating seeds, you can grow these flowers in pots and have a good base for frequent salads without having to do much more than water them every once in a while. These things multiply fast even if you keep them in a place where bees can’t get in them because they can actually fertilize themselves. If your doctor has been telling you to get more fresh veggies in your diet but the price makes you wince, try this and maybe your grocer will notice that you have one less bag of lettuce in your cart during the dandelion growing season.
Make Dandelion Tea!
If you’re feeling especially mean to those harmless little flowers, pull them up by the roots and bring them in to make dandelion root tea. No worries if you miss a few root parts; the dandelion can actually regenerate just from a piece of the root being left in the ground. Dandelion root tea has properties that may be helpful in fighting ailments like gall stones, leukemia and melanoma without harming healthy cells. The yellow part of the flower makes a good wine and can also be pickled, sautéed, steamed or stir-fried like many other vegetables.
Dandelions Have Medicinal Uses!
Seriously, there was a time when a few dandelions in the yard were seen as a good thing. They’ve long been used as folk remedies for improving digestion, treating diabetes, and generally strengthening bodily functions. The Europeans introduced them to America as a way to stimulate the imported bee population. So, whatever you do, don’t spray those weeds and don’t let anybody else spray them either. Just harvest them, and you have what you need to make a pretty good salad and some tea to go with it.