The Flower You Should Be Eating

Dandelions pop up overnight to blemish a perfect green lawn and crowd out the petunias in your flower garden. Instead of going to war with the yellow weeds, you might want to welcome them into your kitchen. Dandelions are herbs, and herbs have many health benefits. Aside from packing a whole lot of vitamins and minerals, they’re the most nutritionally dense greens you can eat — even outstripping kale and spinach. In addition, they provide several different antioxidants throughout their roots, leaves and flowers. They also help with inflammation, lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and they're a natural diuretic, which helps to control blood pressure. The great thing about dandelions is that every part of the plant is edible. The leaves are on the bitter side, but they have a spicy kick similar to arugula. Toss some fresh leaves into a salad, or you can cook them to remove some of the bitterness. Soak the leaves in cold, salted water for 10-15 minutes, then cook them in boiling water until tender. Finish them off by sautéing them with some olive oil, onion and garlic, and top them off with Parmesan cheese. Dandelions have a lot going for them, but there are some things to know before serving them for dinner. You can pick the blossoms right from your yard, but if you’re harvesting wild dandelions make sure you’re picking them from an area you know hasn’t been treated with pesticides or other chemicals.