Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Eat dandelions

Godey’s Lady’s Book was a magazine published in Philadelphia from the 1830's until 1898. It covered a wide range of topics, including recipes of foods. This one, about the humble dandelion, appeared early in the Civil War; it serves as a reminder to soldiers in the field to eat vegetables. The leaves are best (least bitter) before the flower appears.Avoid the milky sap which is extremely bitter and may produce an allergic reaction.

Dandelion flower

Uses of the Dandelion from Godey's Lady's Book, 1862

It's uses are endless: the young leaves blanched make an agreeable and wholesome early salad; and they may be boiled, like cabbages, with salt meat.
Dandelion, Wichita, Kansas, March 2014

The French ... slice the roots ..., as well as the leaves with bread and butter, and tradition says that he inhabitants of Minorca once subsisted for weeks on this plant, when their harvest had been entirely destroyed by insects. The leaves are ever a favorite and useful article of food in the Vale of Kashmir, where, in spite of the preconceived prejudices we all have ..., dandelions, and other humbler examples of our northern "weds," do venture to associate themselves with the rose or the jasmine of it's eastern soil. On the banks of the Rhine the plant is cultivated as a substitute for coffee, and Dr. Harrison contends that it possesses the fine flavor and substance of the best Mocha coffee, without it's injurious principle; and that it promotes sleep when taken at night, instead of banishing it, as coffee does.

Mrs. Modie gives us her experiences with dandelion roots, which seem of a most satisfactory nature. She first cuts the roots into small pieces, and dries them in the oven until ... brown and crisp as coffee, ....

In some parts of Canada they make an excellent beer of the leaves, in which the saccharine matter they afford forms a substitute for malt, and the bitter flavor serves instead of hops.

In medicine, too, it is invaluable.


1. Dandelion is high in sodium, potassium, iron, B vitamins, and protein. A little bit goes a long way. In a highly seasoned stew add root slices. Caution, the white milky sap is most bitter and may cause allergic reactions.

2. Project Gutenberg has reproduced an 1851 edition of the book online.

3. The medicinal properties include increase urinary flow and anti-inflammatory agents.

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