Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale
My heart always goes out to the much-maligned dandelion. It provides early food to the bees, attracts other pollinators, repairs compact soil and provides us with food and medicine. What’s not to love…?
With the advent of manicure lawns, the dandelion lost rank. It was suddenly classified a “weed” where it was once deliberately planted as an early spring green, assisting people in recovering from their heavy, fat-laden winters. All parts of the dandelion are edible and provide a different flavor profile. If you don’t mind a tiny bit of bitter, get brave and leave the yellow “petals” (technically flowers) attached to the green part. We like to gather the buds that are still deep in the leaves before they form stems and ferment or pickle them. We harvest the open flowers to make delicious fritters or remove the petals and use them to make muffins, bread, cookies, jam, wine and sprinkle in salads. The leaves are a wonderful bitter salad green, and the roots can be used to make muffins, snack bars, herbal coffee, chai and bitters.
Daylily, Hemerocallis spp.
Daylily flowers contain vitamin C and carotene. They have a sweet taste and can be eaten raw or used to create all sorts of interesting dishes. The tubers of the roots may be eaten as well – simply remove the stalks and hair and give them a good scrub with a vegetable brush before boiling them. They resemble mini potatoes and can be used as a substitute!
Dill, Anethum graveolens
Isn’t it great that we can not only use the leaves of dill, but also the flowers? They add a wonderful dill-y flavor along with a pretty yellow color to your salads and mixes.