Dandelion

By EAT SMARTER
Updated on 21. May. 2020

Discover everything you should know about dandelions and why they are so healthy.

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Dandelion...

  • ...provides vitamin C. Dandelions contain several vitamins from the B group, but their vitamin C content is particularly high: a 100-gram portion provides just under 70 percent of our average daily requirement.
  • ...regulates water balance. Whether they're grown in the wild, outdoors or in a greenhouse, dandelions contain a bitter substance called taraxin, which provides dandelion with a diuretic or dehydrating effect.
  • ...supports the digestive organs. Dandelions address issues of the stomach, intestines, liver and bile thanks to the taraxin, tannins and essential oils.
  • ...regulates blood sugar. Dandelion has a high content of inulin. This soluble dietary fiber is not only easy to digest with a lasting satiating effect, but it can even have a positive influence on blood sugar levels.
  • ...is especially good for women. The folic acid in dandelion is beneficial for pregnant women and women who wish to have children because the B vitamin helps prevent malformations of an unborn child in the womb.
  • ...has a mild antibiotic effect. The essential oils and other secondary plant compounds abundant in dandelions inhibit the growth of various bacteria, viruses and fungi.
  • ...tastes bitter sometimes. Dandelions usually contain only a few bitter substances, which many people do not like.

What You Should Know About Dandelions

A summer meadow with yellow dandelions looks good enough to eat, don't you think? Go ahead because you can eat the pretty flowers and the leaves. Both tastes not only delicious but also provide the body with valuable fuel.

Dandelion (also known as buttercups) grows in meadows and, with its sunny yellow flowers, it beautifies even otherwise desolate places. It can do much more than just please the eye: its strongly toothed, rosette-shaped leaves were extremely popular as a vegetable some 400 years ago. Since the middle of the 17th century, France in particular has preferred to prepare salads from it. The alleged weed is now cultivated on a large scale.

Dandelions that've been breeded stand out for their distinguished paleness: In order to reduce the content of natural bitter substances, it is protected from light. Although the yellow flowers are not important in breeding dandelions, those who pick them wild can eat them without any problems: the white latex contained in the hollow flower shaft is also harmless. Although it leaves stains on skin and clothing, it is not poisonous.

Season

Dandelions from the field are available from March throughout the summer. In autumn and winter, the dandelions grown in a greenhouse are easy to recognise because it looks more yellowish than green.

Taste

Dandelions taste spicy-tart to slightly bitter.

How Healthy is Dandelion?

Dandelion has had a deservedly good reputation for centuries because its leaves are virtually bursting with healthy ingredients. The bitter substance taraxacin, which gives dandelions their taste and is good for health, is considered to be particularly effective. In addition, there are considerable amounts of essential oils and antibiotically acting substances.

The list of ailments dandelion relieve is long, for example, the salad vegetable helps with kidney, gallbladder, liver and stomach complaints, as well as gout and rheumatism.

That dandelion is also considered to be a remedy for an inactive bowel due to its high content of inulin. This soluble fiber feeds the intestinal flora and keeps it healthy.

The dandelion also has an impressive vitamin C content: dandelions contain about 68 milligrams in 100 grams, 2/3 of our daily requirement. Dandelions, on the other hand, are calorie and fat efficient, making them an ideal vegetable for the figure-conscious.

Both leaves and flowers are completely harmless to children, but depending on the variety and season, the bitter substance content, especially in the leaves, can be so high that dandelions simply do not appeal to children. 

Nutritional values of dandelion per 100 grams  
Calories 27
Protein 2.9 grams
Bold 0.6 grams
Carbohydrates 2.4 grams
Fibres 3 grams

Shopping and Kitchen Tips

Shopping

Whether you buy bright green or yellowish, bleached dandelions depends on your taste and the season.

Storage

Dandelions taste best freshly harvested. The leaves wilt quickly, so you should prepare it as soon as possible. If necessary, dandelions can be kept in a freezer bag or loosely in the vegetable compartment in the fridge covered with a damp cloth for about three days.

Preparation

Since dandelions can be eaten with the stem, their preparation does not require much work: simply rinse, shake to dry and chop according to the recipe.

What to Make With Dandelion

The tender, young spring dandelion is perfect for a crisp salad, either on its own or together with other leafy vegetables. The leaves can also be cut into fine strips and mixed with herb curd cheese or herb butter, for example. Some people also like it on sandwiches or sprinkled over vegetable dishes.

Larger dandelion leaves can be prepared just like spinach or cooked in vegetable soups and stews. The yellow flowers of wild dandelions make a pretty and tasty decoration for spring and summer salads or other dishes.

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