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! recipes for very bitter dandelions?

 
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By this time of year the dandelions are pretty bitter.  However, our yard is full of them, and I'd really like to utilize this source of nutritious (free!) greens.  Does anyone have any recipes suitable for masking the bitterness, or suggestions for preparation that would reduce/eliminate the bitterness?  I know that blanching them briefly, then discarding the water can help, but I'm not sure what to do with blanched dandelions..
 
                    
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Rachel,
have you tried dicing up the dandelions and mixing them with other greens in a curry stir fry?
mmmmgoood.
olive oil, chop  onions,  dice carrots, chop red pepper, chop assorted greens ( dandelions, nettles,miners lettuce,
spinach, bok choy etc) fish sauce, curry, coconut milk
saute onions, carrots, green peppers in olive oil - when onions start browning lightly, add greens and
cook down, add fish sauce ( at least 2 tablespoons), 2 tablespoons or more curry
stir together till curry gets aromatic ( 3-4 minutes) add coconut milk 1/2 cup at a time and stir well.
You may or maynot use all of the coconut milk. the greens should be in a small amount of liquid
at the end of cooking not floating in it.
However... this mixture can be made then used to spice up  almost any type of  bean soup...
it goes very well over any type of rice and can be stuffed inside a rabbit wrapped in foil and baked in the oven at
350 for 1 1/2 hours ( depending on rabbit size)

 
rachael hamblin
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mmmm I'll have to try making a dandelion curry thanks for the suggestion Nina!
 
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A simple raw way to eat dandelions is:
1) remove midrib
2) cut or rip up leaf
3) add some olive oil to lessen the bitter
4) mix in with rest of salad.

It should be fine if there's plenty of other tastes in the salad. And that way you get some good nutrients!
 
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Maybe you could cook them up in a quiche or souflle, vegetable lasagna or spicy soup. I make a blackeyed peas and sausage jumble that I sometimes put spinach in, I bet it would be fine with dandelion.
 
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A good, all around method for removing bitter or unsavory flavors from things (from dandelion greens to beef liver) is to soak it in an acidulated liquid overnight. You could use anything from some cold water with enough lemon juice to make it tangy, to buttermilk which imparts its own rich creamy quality to the foods. The acid in the liquid acts to draw out impurities in the food. Another method, which I would reserve for greens and other bitter vegetables, is to place them in a pot with ice water and slowly bring up to a boil; if they're still bitter, dump off the water, squeeze them dry, and repeat the process until palatable. Hope this helps!
 
steward
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Two simple things I learned about dandelion greens and other bitter greens from John Kallas (http://wildfoodadventures.com/about/john-kallas/) on a wild edibles walk at 21 Acres a few years back:
  • dandelions are less bitter after a good rain (or lots of irrigation) - it doesn't matter if they have bloomed or not
  • cooking / sautéeing in fat and protein (like bacon, ham or vegan/veg alternative) helps reduce the bitter


  • Edit:  here is a picture from *summer* dandelion greens picked here at wheaton labs. It was July 2016 (not 2017 which was DRY, dry, dry!) and the leaves were still remarkable nice and wide - full of moisture making them less bitter.
    dandelion-lambquarters-rhubarb-saskatoons-July-2016.jpg
    [Thumbnail for dandelion-lambquarters-rhubarb-saskatoons-July-2016.jpg]
    wide, less bitter dandelion greens after summer rains in July 2016
     
    gardener
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    Yes, I agree with all above.
    Chopping them up and mixing them with whatever I'm eating:lasagna, chilaquiles, beans, rice.
    Adding chile, soy sauce, olive oil, vinegar, etc to the combo to make it just right.
    Very bitter that year? Less dandelion, smaller pieces, other flavor combos to balance.  
    I usually mix them in with other greens too, which balances the flavor: parsley, earth chestnut, scorzonera, many mallows, swiss chard, kale, leeks, false dandelion, plantain,e tc.
    John S
    PDX OR
     
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    In the spring my dad would gather the young dandelion plants , chop up the leaves an put them in potato salad. One of those dishes you looked forward to while the getting was good. He also would saute them with onion and when they were just about done he would throw some of our eggs in the skillet scramble them all together and that was a breakfast!
     
    pollinator
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    Another solution is to ...enjoy bitterness! This is healthy because...
    - it cleans the mouth,
    - make you salivate
    - and send the signal to your stomach to produce enough acid! (which we almost all lack by the way...  because of stress, and too much sweet taste not enough bitter, read ayurvedic stuffs!)

    If you mix in a salad, and feel the bitterness less, no problem because your stomach also has bitter receptors.

    I get them first thing in the morning. It goes well with lemon juice. But also munching in the garden! Very tooth cleaning!

    TIP:
    It has been mentionned to remove the cetral rib. Here is an easy way to remove the harder part. Take the low end between 2 fingers, and with the other hand take both sides of this same end and go upward. It will remove exactly the tender green part, quick and close to the central stem! It will eventually cut half way, where more tender. This is a fun exercise, because you will develop more finger tact, to notice the difference between each leave...
     
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    My first post - so please be gentle. I've received the daily email for years and this is the first one I've been brave enough to post on.

    Apologies if its an ancient thread, and has been covered before.

    The bitterness of dandelions and the suggestion of using acid to negate the bitterness had me thinking of fermentation and Kimchi.

    Someone already had the same idea:

    https://www.aforagershome.com/blog/2018/5/27/dandelion-leaf-kimchi
     
    gardener
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    Welcome Jon-
    I would TOTALLY make dandelion kimchi, it sounds brilliant. I tend to just eat the dandelions plain (dandelion greens plus a can of sardines is my go-to lunch on crazy workdays), but I do love me some ferments and the combination sounds perfect. Thanks for sharing, and don`t be a stranger!
     
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    Oh Jocelyn,
    But those green underneath are certainly not bitter, Lambs quarters are my favorite. But they do not like living where I live. I have a very hard time finding them.
    My family doesn't understand about foraging, so when I forage on there property and try to go back I usually find an empty space in the name of saving me from myself. Lol
    Little do they know, I know they are trying to protect me but it is frustrating.
    Evelyn
     
    gardener
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    If you like Dandelions cultivate them a little. several have mentioned how they change with irrigation. Reducing direct sun at the same time will also make them larger and less bitter. If they have gone into summer mode with tall green stems and small blooms they usually have a lot of energy stored in the roots which can be pulled or dug and used as a root vegetable.

    But those green underneath are certainly not bitter, Lambs quarters are my favorite. But they do not like living where I live.

    Dandelions are a perennial but Lambs Quarters are a short term annual, so gather the seed and plant them in a row so that they are obviously not a weed. then make succession plantings every 2 weeks so that they can be harvested at their peak.  Keep Dandelion roots in the row and put an open top box around them to force tall large leaves for harvest.  One friend let his Lambs quarters on the outer edge of the lettuce bed grow tall and go to seed to protect the lettuce from bitterness and early frost.  
     
    Posts: 31
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    I have noticed that avocados and creamy salad dressings take the edge off bitter greens.  
     
    pollinator
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    My favorite way to cook bitter greens is to slow braise them in a mix of bone broth and vinegar. I like to sautée onions, garlic, carrots, and celery until the onions are good and soft. Then I add the greens, a healthy glug of vinegar, and cover with bone broth. Bring to a boil, mix in greens in good and cover and  simmer. It can take a couple hours to really cook down but after about 40 minutes they are ready to go if you're impatient
     
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    I second the comment about John Kallas (I read his book, which is thorough, and useful for most temperate climes similar to the pacific northwest).

    He, or someone else, recommended grilling the crowns, which seems like a great idea to me, although I've never had crowns with little enough soil/sand on them.

    (When they're already bitter, I'd probably just boil or roast the roots.)

     
    Beth Arthur
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    I also agree with Xisza about learning to like bitter.  It can be learned, but I recommend going slow.  Start with a little bit of dandelion in a lettuce salad and gradually increase.  I'm at 1/3 bitter greens to 2/3 mild in my salads. I can do 1/2 and 1/2 if there are avocados or I use a creamy dressing. The bitters are why the salad course is served first. They get the digestive process reved up.
     
    pollinator
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    I accidentally found a way to eliminate the bitterness, but it takes time. A wheelbarrow was left upside-down over a dandelion patch for almost 2 months, blocking out all light. When I moved it, the dandelions were still growing, but they were nearly white from lack of sun. When I tasted one, there was no hint of bitterness at all.
     
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    I've found the bitterness of dandelions to be transformed into a big positive when mixed with feta. I make filo pastries with dandelion and feta inside and the flavour combo is great (even better with some fennel mixed in).
     
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