plantmate of the month: miss june

You may be most familiar with dandelions as the common weed in your lawn or as a trigger for your allergies. However, consumption of this month’s feature, Ms. June, can be traced back to traditional Native American medicine. All parts of the dandelion, except the seeds, are edible and have various health benefits. Read on to find out how to incorporate this ubiquitous plant into your diet in preparation for hot girl summer.

Dandelion Root Tea

The root is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and, in tea form, can act as a natural coffee substitute. Additionally, it can soothe digestive problems and help your body get rid of excess water. For that reason, many think drinking this tea helps with weight loss.

Ingredients

4½ tsp dried dandelion root (If using fresh root, see the notes section below)

2 cups water

Optional additions: 

1 to 2 tbsp butter or cream to taste 

1 cinnamon stick, OR 1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger, OR 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger, OR vanilla extract to taste *Note: can also add a combination of these!

Instructions

  • Place a medium pot over medium heat and place the dried dandelion root in the bottom.
  • Toast the root until it becomes fragrant and golden brown, then add the water and additional flavorings (if using).
  • Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and allow it to simmer for 30-45 minutes.
  • Strain the roasted roots and add optional flavorings if desired. I blend in a little maple syrup and one tablespoon of butter (or a few tablespoons of cream), and 2-3 drops of vanilla extract.

Sauteed Dandelion Greens

Dandelion greens are packed with nutrients, including retinoids which help improve eyesight. 

Ingredients 

3 pounds of dandelion greens, tough lower stems discarded, and leaves cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

5 large garlic cloves, smashed

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions

  • Cook greens in a 10-to 12-quart pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 8 quarts water), uncovered, until ribs are tender, for about 10 minutes. 
  • Drain in a colander, rinse under cold water to stop cooking, and drain well, gently pressing out excess water.
  • Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook garlic and red pepper flakes, and stir until pale golden for about 45 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high, and then add greens and sea salt. Sauté until coated with oil and heated through, for about 4 minutes.

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sauteed-dandelion-greens-242014

Fried Dandelion Blossoms

Yup, that’s right, the flowers are edible too! And packed with antioxidants, which help improve your overall health!

Ingredients 

Dandelion blossoms

Cool, lightly salted water

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pinch pepper

Instructions 

  • Pick new dandelion blossoms (ones on short stems). Rinse in cool, lightly salted water, and cut off the stem ends close to flower heads, leaving just enough to hold the petals together. Roll the flowers in paper towels to remove excess moisture. 
  • Make the batter by combining egg, milk, flour, salt, and pepper—dip flowers into the batter. Drop batter-coated blossoms into deep fryer set at 375 F. Fry until lightly browned. 
  • Drain on absorbent paper and sprinkle with more salt as taste dictates. Enjoy!

https://www.almanac.com/recipe/fried-dandelion-blossoms

Garden weeds? No way. Ms. June will help you stay healthy this hot girl summer. If harvesting your own, just remember to be cautious about pesticide consumption!

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