Fall Harvest of Dandelion Greens
by Linda C Butler
My Grandmother and great grandmother used to harvest wild dandelion greens in the spring to serve as a pot herb. The dandelion was widely available throughout the Prairies and in the spring, it is one of the earliest greens.
I live on the West Coast and at the end of August I cleaned the yard and removed the dandelions, but it is now October and they have sprouted again. I harvested the crop and thought about my Grandma and the pioneers on the Prairies who were grateful to this plant for early greens.
Dandelions should only be harvested when the plant is young and tender. If it has reached the flowering stage, the leaves are too bitter. Cut the crown off with a knife at the top of the root. It will usually come off in one piece, which makes it convenient for handling. To clean the leaves for cooking, cut away the base, leaving the individual leaves. Wash well in cold water to remove dirt particles. Add boiling water and cook until it comes to a boil. It is not necessary to totally cover the leaves as they shrink down. Drain off the water and add more boiling water to finish cooking. This blanching will remove any bitterness. Remove the greens from the water and chop coarsely. Serve with a few drops of apple cider vinegar and butter.
Dandelion greens, when picked young, are surprisingly good as a pot herb. Wild foods that I harvest tie me to the past generations who depended on the wild harvest to supplement their meager gardens.