Letting Life Lead
It has been a long time since you’ve watched me throw things together in a rebellious, non-measuring free for all. Today I invite you to face your darkest, leafiest greens fear and try dandelion greens. Yes, they are edible. Yes, the same ones that grow in your yard. Yes, you can harvest them and pick them if your yard isn’t being parked on or carpet bombed by weed or bug killer.
Don’t just stuff a hand full of raw greens in your mouth and chew. They are bitter. More bitter than frissee. The can be so bitter you may never be able to put your tongue back in your mouth if you are super sensitive to bitter. There are three simple things you can do to make these nutritional powerhouses palatable:
1. Hide it in big proportions of food like salads, soups, stews, stir fry, and smoothies. Bitters like salt enhances other flavor in the right balance. Chop them small if they are especially bitter to enjoy them raw. Some leaves have a milder taste so judge each batch.
2. Mask it with big, bold, sweet or fatty ingredients like garlic, onion, soy sauce, bacon, vinegar, honey, sugar and eggs. The sky is the limit. I bet it would go really well in a Korean recipe. I threw some sauteed in soy sauce and garlic into Boston baked beans! The kids gave me stink eye, but they ate it all.
3. Boil it or soak it in salt water. Boil the leaves in a pot of water for three minutes then taste the leaf for bitter value. If still too bitter for you, boil another three. If still bitter, drain the water, refill, and repeat another 3 to 5 minutes. If still too bitter suck it up or compost it.
Read more about why some greens are bitter than others and how to make them more pleasing here at How to Make Dandelion Greens More Palatable.
You will need:
A bunch of dandelion greens (I got a big bunch at the store for a dollar fifty) garlic, soy sauce, dry lemon peel. Or just wing it.
Pasta. I used penne, but any will do.
Boiled eggs. I cooked six, kids ate two, I used four.
Red bell pepper chopped or strips
Frozen corn thawed
A little shredded or cubed cheddar cheese
Set your eggs and pasta to boil. As many as you like. Sautee Garlic in some oil until it smells good, use as much as you like. Use bacon grease and bacon bits if it pleases you. I used plain oil. Toss in the chopped greens (boil them first if you like). Add soy sauce and cook a few minutes. I like it when my soy sauce gets sticky on the bottom of the pan. You can balance the flavor with honey or sugar if you like a sweeter taste. Let cool. Cool off the eggs and pasta, too. Chop or julienne the red pepper. Toss all prepared ingredients together in the bowl with the corn and cheese.. Add as much or as little ranch dressing as you like. Mayo and vinegar/citrus can work too; use what you have or enjoy. Eat right away or let the flavors mingle for an hour first.
Try dandelion just for the experience!
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Author of suspense novels Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. As well as the short story collection Time Wasters and (co-author of) The Suspenseful Collection. Columnist for The Conscious Talk Magazine.
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