New Urban Farm Challenge: Dandelion Salad (yes you did read that correctly!)

I am taking part in this years Urban Farm challenge, the challenge for May was foraging. Living in a city this is not a regular activity for me. I’ve picked wild blackberries but that’s about the extent of my foraging experience. The challenge here was to try dandelions, they are free and plentiful after all and I hear they are good for you. I must admit to dragging my heels on this challenge, nothing has ever made me want to try a dandelion! Cooking dandelions seems even less appealing to me so I decided to use the leaves in a salad. Lucky for me I have one rogue dandelion plant in my garden so I didn’t have to go far to forage! I tried to pick the smallest leaves as they are meant to be the least bitter. While in the garden I also picked some sorrel that I have growing and decided to use a chives flower in my salad, another first for me, I tend to just use the leaves of the chives and leave the flowers. By an amazing stroke of luck I also found some wild garlic growing next to the dandelion so that went into the salad as well! I added some mixed lettuce leaves and dressed it simply with olive oil and salt as I wanted to really taste the ingredients. There is no recipe here as it really was just picking leaves, scattering some chives petals and dressing lightly.

My verdict? Well I loved using the flower from the chives, amazing how strong the taste of onion was in those tiny purple tips. The wild garlic was wonderful, I wonder how long that has been growing under my nose? As for the dandelions, well I tried but they really were bitter and grassy! It was fun to take part and I wish Id had time to forage further, there were more foraging challenges but May escaped me and here we are already in June!

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  1. #1 by Urvashi Roe on June 9, 2012 - 17:38

    Interesting challenge. I recently went foraging with Toby Gritten in Bristol and was amazed to see pine that was edible. Loads of it too. And also fiddlehead ferns which Toby advises are soaked in brine and then battered and fried. Post on the blog. Also re dandelions, try them in a frittata with some goats cheese.

    • #2 by Jayne on June 10, 2012 - 20:44

      I love the name fiddlehead ferns! Going to look for your post right now!

  2. #3 by Wendy Read (@Sunchowder) on June 10, 2012 - 18:22

    I must say I have never eaten dandelion greens…you are so brave my friend! So fun to find the wild garlic..a treasure in your yard, love that.

    • #4 by Jayne on June 10, 2012 - 20:45

      It did take some effort! The wild garlic was a lucky find!

  3. #5 by Maria on June 11, 2012 - 18:47

    Yeah, you really have to get the dandelion greens when they’re babies in order to eat them in a salad! Even young/small leaves on older plants are too bitter for my taste – if it’s started to flower, even just with a little bud in the center, it’s too late. The other thing that helps is to find a plant that’s grown up in the shade, rather than in full sun in the garden.

    I usually saute dandelion greens mixed in with other strongly-flavored leafy greens – turnip, beet, collards, mustard, whatever. Blanch them first if you really want to take the edge off the bitterness.

  4. #6 by yami on June 11, 2012 - 18:48

    Yeah, you really have to get the dandelion greens when they’re babies in order to eat them in a salad! Even young/small leaves on older plants are too bitter for my taste – if it’s started to flower, even just with a little bud in the center, it’s too late. The other thing that helps is to find a plant that’s grown up in the shade, rather than in full sun in the garden.

    I usually saute dandelion greens mixed in with other strongly-flavored leafy greens – turnip, beet, collards, mustard, whatever. Blanch them first if you really want to take the edge off the bitterness.

    (Apologies if this is a double post, not sure if WordPress stole my comment while it was asking me to log in, or if it’s just in moderation.)

  5. #7 by Carmela on July 4, 2012 - 22:29

    I love dandelion leaves, as Italians we use them often in cooking, in pasta etc, delicious xx

    • #8 by Jayne on July 16, 2012 - 14:53

      I should give them another go!

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