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Ingredient Spotlight: Cooking Dandelion Greens

cooking dandelion greens image

Dandelion greens, the odd name of this vegetable originates from the French “dent de lion”, literally “lion’s tooth” which refers to the toothed leaves of the plant. The dandelion leaves are full of protein, fiber, calcium, potassium, and beta-carotene. They’re used a lot in European countries and they become more and more popular here. You can find these greens in many supermarkets nowadays. While the leaves are not sharp to touch, they do have a punchy, bitter taste. The yellow flower is also edible! Dandelion season spreads from  january to june, but early spring is the best moment of the year to pick wild dandelions. These are tender when young and tougher when they get older.

Dandelion greens have a very strong flavor that mellows when you cook them. Try to steam or braise them, it’s absolutely delicious. You can cook them same way as spinach. Dandelion leaves also make a daring spicy addition to your grilled cheese sandwich!

Buying and storing dandelion greens

In the early spring, look for small fresh green leaves — larger leaves are bitter. The crown — known as the white part at the base of the leaves — is appreciated for its tenderness and subtle flavor. If you choose to pick up your own dandelion leaves, look for the unopened flowers, they are tasteful and you’ll love it for sure. Store wrapped in plastic in the crisper container of your refrigerator.

Preparing et cooking

Wash well because dandelion greens are often sandy. Remove or cut the stems if they’re tough. Tear or chop the leaves, depending what you want to prepare. The best cooking methods are certainly steaming, braising, and sautéing. Some home cooks like to bake them in over like chips!

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