The Magic Of Dandelions
Updated: May 25, 2020
Dandelions have always been little spots of sunshine in my opinion, and I don't understand the societal hate for these magical little plants! Fields of dandelions are a pollinator heaven and I have a deep nostalgia when I see them, remembering how I gifted dandelion bouquets to family and teachers. Although I have loved them since I was little, I never appreciated or utilized the products and health benefits that dandelions provide. I am so excited to be able to make at least 10 different zero waste items for my home just from ingredients I already have and these amazing flowers in my backyard!
Something interesting that I read was that pilgrims actually most likely brought dandelions to North America with them due to the widespread use of them for medicinal properties and food. Doing some more research I found out that dandelions have more vitamin A than spinach, more vitamin C than tomatoes, and are a powerhouse of iron, calcium and potassium! Not only are they exceptionally nutritious, they also have medicinal properties that aid in things like fighting inflammation, lowering cholesterol, treating indigestion, promoting a healthy liver and so much more!
* It is incredibly important to not harvest dandelions from areas that have been treated with herbicide or pesticide, and if you are in the woods it is a good rule of thumb to harvest from at least 300 feet from a walkway or road! Also- make sure to leave enough dandelions in the area you are taking from for the pollinators,bugs, and animals in the area! *
For more ways to use dandelions and resources scroll to the end!
Dandelion Infused Coconut Oil
My first project I decided to tackle was making dandelion infused coconut oil using the flowers so that I could have an anti-inflammatory rub for my joints, as well as use it as face moisturizer! Dandelion flowers have been shown in studies to aid in regeneration of new skin cell growth and protect against sun damage which I am excited to try. The whole process is super easy and hands off- perfect for busy people trying to make small changes or people trying to get rid of dandelions in their yard!
Gather those flowers! For infusions in oil you only are going to collect the flowers of the dandelion. You can choose how you harvest these depending on if you want regrowth or if you want to uproot the whole plant! (See link below for tips of uprooting dandelions also peep the Creeping Charlie that is dominating my yard!)
Dry those little fellows out! There are a few different methods and you can choose which is convenient for you! Sitting in the sun for a few hours is the best method, but air-drying overnight in a ventilated space works just as well! If you choose to do the oven put it on the lowest setting and check every 30 minutes until dried out but not burnt!
(For recipes like the dandelion tonic below you do not need to dry the flowers, stems, roots, or leaves)
Fill your favorite airtight canning jar halfway full of your dried dandelion flowers! You can put a piece of cloth under the lid also to help secure it!(Anything with a sealed lid or cap will work perfect here; I am using an old patron bottle with a sealed cork for aesthetic appeal but my next batch will be in a saved pasta jar with a cloth covering)
Now choose any oil you want to infuse with dandelion flowers! Some ideas are coconut, avocado, grape-seed, almond, and olive oil! You can either store it in a cabinet for 4 weeks for a traditional infusion, or you can infuse it in sunlight for 2 weeks! Make sure to give the jar an occasional shake using both methods.
When your infusion is complete strain out the flowers using a cloth, strainer, or your hand and store the oil in a sealed bottle or jar up to one year! Post your creations in the comment section- I will be posting an updated photo of the oil in a month :)
Have I convinced you yet of the magic of dandelions? I was so inspired seeing people all over facebook discovering and experimenting with the uses of dandelions, so I hope you can find a project here you want to try! Here are a few recipes and videos that will be helpful this summer for all your new dandelion projects.
First up is this amazing dandelion honey made by Gina Catx loosely following this recipe!
And this amazingly yummy looking dandelion leaf pesto from @bautticharcuterie on Instagram!
Recipe: 2 cups dandelion leaves, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp dried basil, black pepper, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, and 1/2 cup olive oil and BLEND
Yummy dandelion drinks from Tracy Schoneman Wellness Coach on Facebook!
Ok last recipe- but seriously look how amazing these battered dandelion leaves from Kimberly Beck!
To make a small batch: 1/2 cup chickpea flour, 1 egg, add water to a batter consistency, 1/2 tsp tumeric, 1/2 tsp salt and any other desired spices!
Turn the stovetop on low-medium, dip cleaned and dried leaves in batter, and cook on both sides until crispy! Yum
Click here for 12 more things to make from all the parts of the dandelion!
If you are curious about the health benefits of each part of the dandelion- watch this interesting and research backed up video!
If you want to know the best way to fully uproot stubborn dandelions watch here!