I’ve been talking up superfoods all month. For most of us in temperate regions, our bodies are transitioning from the rigors of winter into the working season (even if we’re working indoors at desks now). Wild greens—many known as “weeds” by the establishment such as stinging nettles and dandelions—aid that transition. They’re high in vitamins and minerals; they have lots of fiber and protein. Folks of yore knew all about them. They made teas and tonics of the superfoods and ate them like vegetables.
Besides the obvious health benefits, there are more modern reasons to harvest wild superfoods. Take a look at my lawn from the street and it looks okay. Not great, but not overrun by so-called weeds. Look a little closer and you’ll see plenty of robust green weed clusters competing with the frail grass, dandelions especially. Only these dandelions don’t have the hydra-like yellow manes to give them away and irritate the neighbors. Where did all the flowers go?
Into my belly, is where. Just a few minutes of snip-snip-snipping out in the front yard and I had enough for an omelet (i.e. a half cup of buds for a small 2-egg omelet). I targeted all the buds that were partially open, with flower stalks exposed halfway down the buds. You can use closed buds as well, but I figured I’d get the first round of ready-to-bloom dandies and then harvest another batch in a few days. Clip off the stem, saute in butter a few minutes (until they fully open) and pour in the eggs. As easy as that.
The taste of a fried dandelion bud is hard to explain. It’s certainly not your usual domesticated fare—it’s savory with a touch of bite, though not bitter, and earthy like wild mushrooms. In an omelet, it’s dandelicious. Said Marty: “What’s that flavor? It’s like a burst of spring, almost citrusy. Like nibbling on a little bit of sunshine.”
Just one more reason to let your lawn do its own thing.