It’s springtime in Colorado! And with spring comes lots of gorgeous blooming flowers. Most prolific of those? The dandelion. Though a weed to some, the dandelion serves many purposes in the spring. It’s early blooming makes it great food for the bees just waking and butterflies passing through. And yes, for we humans, the dandelion can be medicinal too (and quite simply just a tasty snack).
Provided it was harvested from an area free from any pesticide use (this is VERY IMPORTANT!), all parts of the dandelion are edible. The best springtime use of this plant is its fresh new green leaves. As the flowers start to bloom, the energy and nutrients of the plant shift from going into the leaves (already full grown) and are transferred and stored now in the flowers.
This is the PERFECT time to make Dandelion Fritters!!!!
The flowers of a dandelion are interesting. They open and close with the sun. Therefore, very early morning and late afternoon are not the best times to pick them as they will be already closing up. Late morning and midday are prime picking time for these blooms when they are wide open soaking up the sun’s energy. Also important to note, dandelion flowers must be used immediately after they are picked-no overnight storage for these guys-or they turn into the white fluff ball we’re used to seeing blowing in the wind. Definitely NOT a texture one wants in one’s mouth. Therefore, dandelions are good reminders for us to notice our first signs of hunger and harvest and prepare at that time.
So if you want to join in on some dandelion fritter fun, here’s the simple “how to’s”:
Step 1: Pick the dandelions. Make sure they pick the dandelion with longer stems.
Step 2: Wash and rinse them.
Step 3: Mix a thick pancake like batter consistency of flour, egg & milk.
Step 4: Dip the flower face first into the batter.
Step 5: Warm oil in a pan or skillet that you usually cook pancakes in without too much stickiness.
Step 6: Gently place battered dandelions face down in the pan. While holding the end of the longer stems, kids little fingers can stay far from hot skillets as they place them on the skillet/pan. Please always supervise children around hot appliances.
Step 7: When they start to brown, flip ‘em over and push down on them with a spatula or fork to make sure the doughy batter gets fully cooked on both sides.
Step 8: When they’re fully cooked, flip ‘em BACK over to face down again and you can slice off the extra stems (or keep ‘em on-they won’t hurt ya! More crispy chewing for the wee ones! But I prefer them sliced closely and I give my stems to my chickens).
Step 9: Using a fork or a spatula, scoop them onto a plate and let them cool. Then you can serve them as is-or drizzled with a little honey (my favorite way to eat them)…and you’ve got yourself a GREAT mid morning or early afternoon snack!!!
Pu Gong Ying (taraxacum spp. Herba. Common name: dandelion leaf and flower)