Dandelions taste wild–a little bit flowery and a little bit green and bitter, but mostly like nothing else you’ve ever tasted.
These pretty little yellow flowers (yes, they are pretty, and I can’t for the life of my understand why people hate them and try so hard to get rid of them) are high in antioxidants and lecithin and a smattering of vitamins and minerals. And not only are they quite nutritious, but most of us have them available for free and very little work involved in getting them to grow.
A couple of cautions before you start eating dandelions though:
First, make sure the dandelions you gather have not been sprayed with pesticides, weed killer, or any other chemicals. If they’re in your lawn this may be as simple as refraining from spraying any chemicals (as long as your neighbors aren’t spraying anything that’s drifting over to your yard), but I would be reticent to use dandelions growing in any public places, unless I could confirm a lack of chemicals.
Second, if you’re allergic to ragweed or daisies you may also be allergic to dandelions. Be very cautious in starting your dandelion consumption if you have allergies these or similar flowers.
Fried Dandelions can be eaten plain as a simple side dish, with savory sauces such as ketchup or ranch dressing (think anything you might dip onion rings in), or with sweet toppings such as powdered sugar, honey or maple syrup.
I recommend making this recipe with a whole wheat flour made from soft white wheat, but the recipe can quickly be adapted to use white flour or hard red wheat by adjusting the amount of liquid used. The basic ratio is 1 cup of milk to 1 cup of white flour. Use less milk for soft white whole wheat flour and extra milk for hard red whole wheat flour.
You can fry your dandelions in any oil you normally use for frying. Coconut oil makes a nice healthy (and fairly neutral flavored if you use expeller pressed coconut oil) light oil, while lard would have a heavier flavor which might be better suited to a plain or savory side. Vegetable oils would be completely neutral flavored. You might even be able to fry these in plain butter, but you’d want to keep the butter at a lower temperature, and fry the dandelions more slowly so as not to burn the butter.
In the video I demonstrated making individual fried dandelions, but for a faster process, you can also just mix all your dandelion flowers into the batter and form the batter into small pancakes.
Healthiness Rating: Healthy to Kinda Healthy
While dandelion blossoms are definitely healthy, your choice of topping or sauce might downgrade this kinda healthy. (Though if you make your own powdered sugar from turbinado sugar, you’re moving back toward healthy territory again.)
Yumminess Rating: Yummy
As I said, it’s an odd, wild flavor, but very yummy. These are very much husband approved, and as far as I can tell, my version even measured up his very fond childhood memories of fried dandelions.
While fried dandelions are definitely addictive, there are plenty of other uses for dandelions which I’m looking forward to trying this summer. If you’re also intrigued by using up your dandelions, dandelion flowers can be added to green salads, or used in any of these recipes:
Fried Dandelions (Dandelion Fritters)
based on this recipe
3/4 cup milk (or more depending on flour used)
1 cup soft white whole wheat flour (or flour of choice)
about 80 dandelion blossoms (a little less than two cups)
water and salt for soaking flowers
Remove the entire stem and as much of the green part as desired from each flower. (The green part is somewhat bitter, but if you remove all of it your flowers will tend to fall apart. I find it simplest to just remove the stem.) Soak flowers in salt water for five to ten minutes to remove any bugs that might be hiding in them.
Heat coconut oil or oil of choice over a medium (or slightly lower than medium) heat in a skillet.
Beat egg into milk, then add to flour. Mix just until combined. Mixture should be about the consistency of a thick pancake batter–add more milk or flour if needed to get the right consistency.
Dip flowers into batter, using a fork or tongs to make sure each flower is well coated with batter. (Or, mix all your flowers into the batter, and make small pancakes instead of individual fritters.) Drop each flower into the hot oil. (If you’re not sure whether your oil is hot enough, you can drip a small amount of batter into the oil. When the batter floats and begins bubbling briskly, your oil is hot enough.)
Fry for about two minutes on each side, or until each side is golden brown and slightly crispy.
Remove to plate lined with paper towel or a clean rag to absorb the extra grease. Immediately sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
Continue until all dandelion blossoms are fried.