Updated: Jun 8
It has become a tradition to make dandelion tea in the Spring. To make the tea, you will need something to suspend the petals in hot water and strain them out.
I use a stainless steel tea strainer.
Start by gathering up a bunch of dandelion flowers. This will be your "tea". Pluck the yellow part off and discard the green part.
This part is a lot of fun for the kids! You place the petals in your strainer and pour the hot water over them so they are totally submerged.
Let it sit for 3-5 minutes to steep.
My girls and I enjoy a glass with lemon juice and honey.
Dandelions are edible from top to bottom: the flower, the leaves, and the root. You may use all the parts in your tea if you wish to, but it may be too bitter for some. The dandelion greens are very high in antioxidants as well as vitamins A, C, K, and E, folate, and small amounts of other B vitamins. They also contain iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. One of the antioxidants found in the flower is polyphenols which is great for reducing inflammation. The roots contain something called carbohydrate insulin which is a soluble fiber that is said to support the growth and maintenance of healthy flora in your digestive system. The root is often dried prior to it's use in tea, but can be eaten in it's whole form as well.
Chicoric and chlorogenic acid are also found in every part of the dandelion and are thought to help with the reduction of blood sugar levels and promote insulin sensitivity. Because of the amounts of potassium and the dandelion's potential diuretic effects, it is also believed to help reduce blood pressure as well. As with any new thing added to your lifestyle, check with a doctor before consuming if you are worried about any side effects. All of the information above is not proven scientifically in a large scale investigation like the FDA performs. This is merely gathered information from varying sources that all said the same things.
Dandelions often grow in soil that no other plants want to grow in because either the soil is too compact (the roots will help to loosen the soil), there is too little calcium in the soil (dying leaves replenishes calcium in the soil), or the soil is too acidic. Often times it is some combination of of them. Many people will remove the dandelions thinking they are merely weeds that need to be exterminated, but give them time and let them work their magic! They are there to help your soil and disappear once balance has been achieved.
Dandelions are usually one of the first bloomers in the Spring and have a nifty way of protecting themselves. During the day when it's hot, the flower will open but in the evening when it cools off they close again quickly. In fact, if it's not hot enough during the day they won't open at all! The flowers are usually the first food for insects after hibernation and unlike most other plants, they have pollen and nectar and usually a lot of it.
Dandelions at one time were called ′′honey (or gold) of the poor′′ because the flowers are so sweet and can be used in jam, sauce or salad. But wait until the end of May or later before you start picking and even then, don't pick everything yet! The biodiversity and bees will be very grateful!
Happy Harvesting! and Blessed Be!