GOOD FOOD

Dandelion

Text and photos: Mariola Weindich-Mašek

6 July 2016

Dandelion - a common plant with an uncommon properties. Many people think of it as a weed and they try to exterminate it at any costs. Personally, I have always loved the moment when during spring, green lawns and meadows suddenly changed to yellow. Dandelion, commonly mistaken with sow thistle, reminds me of childhood, fun, joy and weaving garlands. Today, after all these years, collecting dandelions gives me the same fun as always, although the goal is quite different ...

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a plant that can help us in many illnesses. For therapeutic purposes the root and the flowers of the plant are mainly used. The root contains many active substances for example triterpenes, phytosterols , bitter substances , organic acids , vitamins A, B, C, D, as well as mineral salts and pectins. The flowers contain among others: flavonoids, triterpenes, carotenoids and helenin. This substance may be helpful for people who have problem with seeing in the dark. Flowers also contain significant amounts of vitamin A and vitamin B2 (riboflavin).

Flowers of dandelion should be best at the beginning of May. You can make a tea out of them, but the real delicacy is the dandelion honey. Flowers should be picked up on a sunny day, preferably before noon, when they are fully open. They can be collected in the garden or meadow - a place far away from the road and exhausts. Then we spread them on a white sheets of paper – to allow all worms to escape. Lets not lose vigilance. Before throwing them into the water we should check them again.

Clean flowers (about 400 pieces) should be thrown into the pot and we pour litre of water. We boil them for about 30 minutes, then we leave them for 24 hours. After this time, we strain the brew and squeeze flowers, we add kilogram of sugar and juice made of one lemon and we boil everything for another 2 hours. Ready honey should be poured into jars and pasteurized.

Dandelion honey has many healthy properties. It has a cleansing effect on the kidneys and liver, it is recommended in diseases of the biliary tract, it helps in dissolving kidney stones or supports this effect. It cleanses the skin, therefore it is recommended in treating acne, itching and pimples. It is a rich source of vitamin C and magnesium, it also helps in digestion and it helps during cold. It is the best to use 2-3 teaspoons of dandelion honey per day. You can also use it instead of the usual honey, sweeten tea and spread on a slice of bread.