by Malcolm Jolley

If you’re a food nerd like me, then you too may wonder why some foods are popular and others are decidedly not. It’s hard to imagine a food less popular, generally, than the much maligned dandelion. Oceans of toxic chemicals are poured over the lawns of North America every year to kill off what could be a delicious salad. It’s not right. People are paying money to destroy food and foul-up the environment. Let’s make salad, not weed war.

Spring is the time to eat and pick “wild” dandelions, since the leaves get more bitter as they grow – unless you like really bitter leaves, or you cook them as the Italians do chicory (which is sometimes called Italian Dandelion). I like the flowers, too: they have a more, um, floral, taste. Anyway, I think it’s fun to eat the weeds in my backyard and I hope more of us will be found hunched over over lawns just before dinner time.

Ten Reasons to Eat Dandelions Now

  1. Dandelions are free
  2. Dandelions are as fresh a food as you can possibly get
  3. Dandelions are as local as you can possibly get
  4. Small children may be engaged to pick them
  5. Dandelion flowers, leaves and root may be eaten
  6. The traditional French accompaniment to dandelion salad are lardons
  7. If you’re doing the lardons thing, you may as well add a poached egg
  8. Dandelions’ bitter taste is the perfect foil for the complimenting taste(s) of sour (lemon), salt (cf. lardons, or cheese), umami (cf. poached egg), or chili heat or any combination thereof
  9. Dandelions are good for you
  10. Dandelion leaves may be wilted, or incorporated into a simple spring time pasta (a little olive oil, garlic, dandelion and parmesan – see The River Cafe series of cookbooks, etc.)
Just remember to wash your foraged dandelions thoroughly before serving, especially if you’ve picked them at the nearby dog park.

Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the non-profit organization that publishes GFR. Follow him at