Picking while hiking: dandelions

The dandelion is one of those plants that you almost always come across when hiking.You would be surprised to find out what can be done with it!

picking-dandelions

With Christophe de Hody, founder of 'Chemins de la Nature' (Nature Paths), whose mission is to transmit knowledge of wild plants and their uses to future pickers, discover the secrets of the dandelion!


Before you start, read our few tips on how to be a perfect picker :) 

1/ A LITTLE BIT OF LATIN!

The dandelion (Taraxacum sp.) belongs to the Asteraceae family.It is a perennial plant, 10 to 40 cm tall, which has many subspecies.

Its leaves are arranged in a rosette in the shape of lion's teeth (hence one of their scientific name dens-leonis). Not to be mistaken, the leaves have little or no hair and, when broken, release a white milk called latex. On the underside of the leaf, the midrib is rounded.

Its inflorescences  consist of a hundred yellow flowers very tightly packed next to each other. 

As for its fruits,  they are surmounted by a bundle of hairs which allows the dispersal of seeds by the wind.

picking-dandelions

2/ IN MY KITCHEN

Invite the dandelion into your kitchen!All parts of the plant can be used: 

- The young dandelion leaves can be served in a salad (they are a bit bitter) or blanched like spinach. 

- The flowers are delicious in jelly (the famous cramaillotte). They can also flavour wine. 

- The roots can be used as a coffee substitute.It can be cooked in water to complement mashed potatoes. It can be sautéed "Japanese style", in a pan, with soy sauce.

THE DANDELION SALAD

INGREDIENTS

Dandelion leaves, flower buds and roots

Walnut kernels

Walnut oil

Wine vinegar

Olive oil & salt

PREPARATION

Uproot the dandelions into young rosettes with a shovel, taking care not to damage the delicate roots. Favour the lighter ones, see the white ones, they will be less bitter. Collect as many flower buds as possible. Remove oversized and damaged leaves on site.

When you return home, put everything to soak in a basin to remove the soil more easily. You can brush the roots.

Prepare the leaves in a salad bowl with a few walnut kernels and a walnut oil and wine vinegar vinaigrette sauce. Cut the roots into sections of about 1 cm and fry them in olive oil for 20 to 30 minutes, over medium heat, with a little salt, until their aromas develop and the bitterness decreases. About ten minutes before the end, add the flower buds. Pour the contents of the frying pan, still hot on to the salad.

It is possible to add a hard-boiled egg cut into pieces or soft-boiled, if you want.

All that's left to do, is to taste and enjoy!

3/ IN MY PHARMACY

The dandelion is a sort of “conductor” of the digestive organs. Dandelion is used in the case of lack of appetite, overeating, poor digestion, but also skin problems, allergies, joint problems, kidney stones, cellulite, constipation, rheumatism ...

The roots help restore good digestive flora.They also have mild laxative and anti-inflammatory properties. Together with the leaves, they stimulate the appetite and help eliminate toxins in the body. 

Dandelion-based remedies can be taken as a 3-week cure with a week's break between each cure.Here are two to get started!

REMEDIES

INFUSION OF THE LEAVES

Preparation:Infuse 10 g of dried leaves in 500 mL of hot water at 85 - 90°C for 15 minutes. Take care not to use boiling water. For this, we advise you to use a probe thermometer or a kettle on which you can choose the temperature. You can also learn to spot the ideal temperature by eye (between 85 and 90°C°), it takes place when very small bubbles form at the bottom of the pan.

Use:You can drink this infusion during the day, one cup 3 times a day, preferably 15 minutes before meals to improve digestion by stimulating digestive secretions.              



ROOTCONCOCTION

Preparation: Place 3 to 4 g in a saucepan, cover with 150 mL of water, and heat to a simmer, letting the temperature rise slowly. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.Then leave to infuse for another 10 minutes off the heat.
Use: You can drink this infusion during the day, one cup 3 times a day, preferably 15 minutes before meals to improve digestion by stimulating digestive secretions.

picking-dandelions

CONTRAINDICATIONS

The consumption of dandelion is absolutely contraindicated in case of latex allergy.

We advise you not to consume too much dandelion or to use remedies made with dandelion in the event of:

- stomach ulcers (because it stimulates the secretion of gastric juices, which could aggravate wounds),

- inflammation or obstruction of the bile ducts,

- pregnancy or breastfeeding,

- if taken diuretic medicines (the diuretic effects would be additive),

- severe liver disease.

christophe-de-hody

Thanks to Christophe de Hody

who helped us write this article!

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