For some people, dandelions are nothing but backyard weed. Science has something to say about this one. Dandelions are much more than that and you can use them to make lotions, salves, syrups, oils, soaps, tinctures, tea, and many other homemade products.
The Latin name of dandelions is Taraxacum officinale, and they belong to the daisy family, Asteraceae. Chamomile, chicory and globe artichokes are their closest relatives.
There are also people who call them:
- lion’s tooth (relating to the leaves)
- milk witch
- piss-in-bed (due to the fact that it is a diuretic)
- priest’s crown
- swine’s snout
- and wild endive
Dandelions greet you in the morning with their bright yellow flowers. They have a sweet smell, and you better use them to optimize your health.
Using pesticides to kill dandelions is the last thing you should do. Their bitter leaves are abundant in vitamins A, E, K, B1, B2, B6 and C. Dandelions are also a good source of minerals like magnesium, iron, copper and folate. The leaves will give you energy and the flowers make the best tea and wine.
Harvest dandelions when they are young, preferably early in the season. Air dry them to preserve the nutrients. If you are making pickled dandelion buds, pick them right after they appear at the base of the leaves on the first days of spring.
Harvest dandelion flowers on a sunny day. The yellow flowers are rich in vitamin A. Don’t us the green sepals though as their taste is too bitter.
If you add the flowers to your food, add them at the beginning. You can sprinkle dried flowers on your food. Dandelion roots are bitter in spring and mellow in autumn.
Top 16 uses of dandelions
1. Dandelion vinegar
Dandelion infused vinegar will enhance your difference. Make it in early spring and enjoy it in the next period.
2. Dandelion infused honey
Add 3-4 handfuls of dandelion flowers to a glass jar and add a pint of raw, unpasteurized honey. Stir well using a chopstick, and put the lid on. Let your honey rest for 14 days in a dark and cool place. Don’t strain it, and add it to your herbal teas.
3. Dandelion syrup
Scandinavians make it all the time. You can make it using sugar, honey and rhubarb. You need about 50 flowers.
How to use the syrup? Just like you use your maple syrup. Add it to your pancakes, homemade yoghurt, etc. the list is never-ending!
4. Pickled dandelion flower buds
Add pickled dandelion hands to your bread, crackers and salty scones. How to make them? Use vinegar, water and salt to make the brine, and pickle your dandelion buds.
Nice and easy! Process the jars in a water bath to preserve them for later in the year. If you eat them right away, put the jar in the fridge.
5. Dandelion flower infused oil
We really like using infused oils. You can never make a mistake with this product. Make sure your carrier oil doesn’t go rancid. A minor mistake can lead to a negative outcome.
6. Dandelion jelly
Who doesn’t like jelly? Yummy, yellow jelly? Go online and find the best recipe. You don’t need too many ingredients. Make sure you have dandelion blossoms, water, powdered pectin, sugar, and lemon. Boil the ingredients together, let the mixture cool! That’s it!
7. Dandelion pancakes and cupcakes
Banana dandelion pancakes anyone? These are gluten-free and vegan. Add fresh petals to your dough, and bake! If you are making cupcakes, dandelions work great with sunflower seeds. Top with lemon frosting. Yum!
8. Dandelion and honey ice cream
This will be your favorite summer dessert. Add a cup of dandelion petals to your homemade ice cream. Dandelions fit in pretty much every recipe. Coconut ice cream and vegan cashew ice cream are our favorite!
9. Dandelion tea
You can drink it as much as you want. Read more about the benefits of dandelions and use every part of the plant. Ask herbalists for an advice if you have any doubts.
10. Dandelion soda
This one is for the kids. Who needs sugar-packed soda? For this recipe you need foraged dandelion flowers and ginger bug starter.
11. Dandelion tincture
Tinctures do miracles, especially when you are having a cough or sore throat. Need an energy boost? Dandelion tincture is the real deal for you. The same tincture will help you optimize your liver function and digestion. Use every part of the plant to make your tincture.
12. Dandelion flower salve
Dandelion salve relieves muscle soreness and pain. You can also use it to soothe and moisturize dry and cracked heels. Use it on your hands, too.
13. Dandelion wine
This will make a perfect gift for a deal friend. Harvest dandelions as soon as they flower.
14. Dandelion mead
You need honey instead of sugar for this one. This will trigger the fermentation process, and the result is brilliant.
Get the ingredients and equipment you need, and get started!
15. Dandelion bath bombs
Bath bombs will relax your body and mind. The making of these is super easy. Mix everything together, and use stainless steel bath bomb molds. Let the mixture dry for 1-2 days. This is another great gift for others and yourself.
16. Dandelion soap
Homemade soaps are amazing. Herbal soaps can do wonders for your skin. Find the right recipe before you start making them.
Animals love dandelion flowers too!
Hedgehogs, mice, rabbits, goats, deer, chickens and many other animals love dandelion flowers. Bees like them too. Dandelions are their only source of food in early spring. Songbirds prefer the seeds though.
Frequent mowing is not a good idea if you want to keep dandelions growing in your backyard.
Dandelions work well for most people who have great immunity. But, pregnant and nursing women should avoid them or at least consult their doctor. Do the same if you take any medication or if you have gallstones.