"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land."
-Abraham Lincoln


In the south when someone says "greens" they are usually talking about mustard greens or collard greens.  In the Midwest, when we say "greens" we mean dandelion greens.  Since this was such a warm winter and early spring, we were able to pick this bucket of greens a full three weeks earlier than our first bucket of greens last year.  Pretty good.

Dandelions are healthier than most people think.  They rank as the fourth healthiest green vegetable in terms of overall nutritional value. They apparently help tremendously with liver and kidney function and strongly promote over all gastro-intestinal health.  They lower cholesterol.  They are rich in beta-carotene, fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, the B vitamins, thiamine, riboflavin, and protein.  There are even some reports that suggest dandelion greens can help you lose weight, although I'm pretty sure a diet rich in any kind of vegetable is probably going to help you lose weight...just a thought.

We clean them, dry them enough so they aren't dripping wet, and separate them into gallon zip-lock bags.  Then we store them in the fridge where they keep for 2 weeks or better.  When we cook them, we wilt them, which means we cook them with a few tablespoons of white vinegar (2-4 tbs. depending on how much you want your greens to bite you back), a little flour to thicken everything, some bacon, and some chopped hard boiled eggs and onions.  We let them cook down until they are well wilted and coated and all around deliciously good.  Hubbs prefers them served over mashed potatoes but I like them better as a side dish all on their own.  Guess who usually wins?  ;) 

I still find it hard to believe that most people find this abundantly growing health food, with it's pretty yellow flowers, to be a pest and use all kinds of chemicals to rid their lawn of these guys.  Granted, once they turn to fluff they aren't very tasty for eating anymore and at that point they can be a bit of an annoyance but before you start going all chemical commando on them, try to just eat them.  I know it sounds weird to some, but really, they're tasty and their good for you, and you'll get them out of your yard.  Can't go wrong there. 


HossBoss said...

We love greens! I've never grown or picked wild dandelion greens, but I would! Swiss chard is our favorite homegrown green. I love any garden vegetable that replenishes itself when you pick it ...the more you pick, the more you get!

: )

The Craftivist said...

You should totally try dandelion greens. I figure they're everywhere already, just pick and eat, assuming you don't chemically treat your yard, that is. In the picture you can see one of the white "stems", if you try them, you'll want to cut those off. As a caveat I will say that the kiddos (at least my kiddos) REALLY don't like them. But, it's an ultra-healthy, green, leafy vegetable so the fact that they aren't wildly popular with the 2-8 year old crowd isn't really surprising.