If you live in Canada, you have probably dealt with a dandelion infestation in your yard. What you may not know is that those pesky weeds are actually great for your appetite and digestion. From flower to root, the entire dandelion plant is edible. Once you learn about all of the benefits of dandelions, you might look at the annoying plant in a different light. Instead of having a horrible weed infestation, you now have a superfood garden.
Dandelions are often used in supplements to prevent water retention and fitness competitors use them to look leaner. They are great for aiding in digestion and jump-starting your metabolism. Dandelion contains a large amount of beta-carotene, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D, fibre, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and contains more protein than spinach. These plants are an anti-inflammatory food, and an antioxidant. The dandelion plant is known to slow the growth of cancer and prevent it from spreading.
Now do you feel a bit differently about these amazing plants that do so much for your wellbeing? Let me tell you how to make use of them.
Makes 4-6 Servings
Tastes like a mixture of camomile and green tea
CAUTION: Do not use the dandelions if they may have been in contact with pesticides or weed killer.
Dig up the entire dandelion plant including flower, roots, stems, and leaves. Using gloves, grab the plant by its base and pull up slowly wiggling the root free from the ground. If it is easier for you, use a dandelion fork or a deep spade to dig them up.
Separate each part of the plant, putting aside the roots and leaves. Optionally you can also keep the flowers aside if you wish to use them in the tea as well. (For this tutorial, I left out the flowers for my personal preference.) Wash each ingredient under cool water until completely clean of dirt. The water should run clear before moving on to the next step.
Heat 500mL of water in a saucepan. As the water is heating, coarsely chop the dandelion root (enough for 2 tablespoons). Do the same with the dandelion leaves, and keep them separate from the roots (enough for 1 tablespoon).
Once the water is at a boil, add 2 tablespoons of the chopped dandelion root into the boiling water, cover the saucepan and set the heat to a low simmer.
Let the dandelion root simmer in the covered saucepan until the water turns yellow (about 1-2 minutes.)
Remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour the entire contents into a french press or other container for steeping. Add the chopped dandelion leaves (and flowers if desired) to the brew. Add an addition 500mL to 1L of boiling water (to taste). The more water you add, the less potent the flavour will be. Let the dandelion root steep for 40 minutes.
If you did not use a french press, strain the mixture over a teapot, and pour the tea into the pot. If you used a french press, pour directly into teacups. Discard the leftover pieces.
You can get creative with your use of dandelions. Using them in a salad is a great way to make use of the leaves, and add some nutritional benefit. You can throw the leaves into any regular salad such as caesar or spinach salad. The leaves can be a bit bitter, so use a salad dressing that compliments the taste. Experiment and have fun with it.
Alright, I’m off to make me some tea.
Owner of Motive 8 Fitness
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