Many of us perceive dandelions as weeds and we’re out digging them up as soon as they appear, while others are allowing them to grow and bloom and seed (with some even planting beds of them in the Spring!). Because they multiply so quickly, it’s easy to understand why these cheery yellow blossoms are considered a nuisance, but don’t let that fool you…these little gifts from nature are edible and have a lot to offer! You can make tasty homemade jellies, syrups, wines and even try making a pesto from the leaves or a coffee from the roots.
This Recipe Hit List is a fun collection of ideas for using them in a variety of ways, I’ve handpicked these from around the ‘net and have them sorted below along with brief descriptions (or tips) and ingredients used.
I’ll be adding more to this list over time so if you’re always on the lookout for new ways to use them in the kitchen, you may want to bookmark this page for reference.
Before getting started, make sure any dandelions you use are chemical free.
I’ve also come across references that the flowers can be frozen and used later with no problem (though I haven’t tested this myself).
Ready to get started? Here you go…
- Gilbert’s Wine : Ingredients include water, large oranges, granulated sugar and wine yeast. From The Cottage Smallholder.
- Wine : Ingredients include sliced ginger, sugar, chlorine-free water, zest of oranges, zest of lemon, yeast and campden tablets. From Not Dabbling In Normal.
- Dandewine : Incredibly sweet! It’s basically a desert wine, and perfect for summer. The color is light yellow, like a lemonade, and it would be delightful served chilled (quoted from source). Ingredients include dried yeast, warm water, orange juice, fresh lemon juice, fresh lime juice, whole cloves, powdered ginger, orange peel, lemon peel and sugar. Will yield about 4 liters. From Craftster.
- DIY Wine : Ingredients include hot water, brown sugar, citrus juice (from oranges and lemons), wine yeast. From Gourmet.
- Preserves : This jelly is delicious with a bright springy flavor very reminiscent of local honey. Made with water, sugar, lemon juice and pectin. From Yummy Supper.
- Jelly : Makes about 2 pints, ingredients include water, sugar, lemon juice and pectin. From Urban Forager.
- Jelly : Same ingredients but this recipe has you steeping the petals overnight before using the infusion to make jelly. From Lizzy Lane Farm.
- Syrup : It is very easy to make, but a little time consuming. You need to put at least 12 hours aside to let the dandelion tops steep and then need 2 hours to simmer the syrup (quoted from source). Ingredients include a lemon, water, sugar (recommends organic cane sugar). From 5 Orange Potatoes.
- Root Coffee : Made with a large bunch of washed dandelion roots that are dried in a dehydrator, chopped then oven roasted. Once cool they’re finely ground and roasted again. Use the grounds to make coffee as you normally would. Interesting! From Eat Weeds. Also see this recipe from BBC Food  which gives this tip: Dandelions can be dug up at any time of the year, but those collected in autumn have the thickest roots because the dandelion is storing energy ready to see it through the winter months. The addition of one or two wood avens roots will add a clove like flavor to the coffee, which is enough for those put off by this drink in the past to consider giving it another go!
- Pesto : Usually made with basil and always in summertime, this rugged version is full-flavored like its basil-rich counterpart. Ingredients include dandelion leaves, olive oil, peeled garlic, lightly toasted pine nuts, sea salt and grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. From David Lebovitz.
- Salve : Dandelions are not only edible, they can be used for healing too! Here’s an easy salve you can use for sore muscles and painful joints. Ingredients used are a jar full of blossoms, good quality olive oil (to make an infusion) and beeswax.