Finally it is Spring! Can you believe the Winter we had this year? We all thought it would never end! Granted we are still experiencing some wacky weather, one day it is 87 degrees and today temperatures hit maybe 60 degrees. But Spring is here bringing with it one of the best wild culinary delights, Dandelions! I can almost hear some of you shudder at the mention of them, yes, you know who you are. You are the "Lawn Lovers." The ones with the perfect green grass, sporting a small sign stating "do not walk on grass, just treated" with not a weed in sight. Now do not be upset, no judgment here, really, I appreciate your hard work. In fact I hoping that maybe after you read this, maybe just maybe, you will come to realize that Dandelions are not public enemy number one. In fact many of the plants we think are weeds are really wonderful plants full of medicinal and nutritional properties. Dandelions are full of vitamin C, help with liver detox/and function and so much more.
Many years ago I participated in classes in foraging. The classes were from early Spring to late Fall. They were a blast. We learned, foraged, and then came back to the kitchen and prepared all of our "Volunteer Vegetables" as my teacher called them. (Great nickname for wild edibles don't you think?) Because the subject of foraging is in itself a complete blog entry, heck a book for that matter, I wanted to just focus on one of the easiest wild edible to identify, The Dandies! For this recipe I used the actually flower.
Before I begin let me tell you a few hard rules about foraging. 1. Never forage close to roadways, or any place that may have been chemically treated. Keep at least 75 feet from any of those areas. 2. know exactly what you are picking 3. Always leave some of the plants in their natural habit.
For Dandelion Burgers be prepared to collect a lot of flowers. I even pick enough and freeze for future recipes. For one burger, I had about 30 flower heads. I usually have my kids help in this process. Grab a bag and pick, great family activity. After you have gathered enough flowers, it is important to rinse them well. You still have to make sure they are clean. I usually soak them for about 15 minutes and then drain them in a strainer. The next step is a bit time consuming. Remove the yellow flower part from the green. I just peel back one part and scrap out the flower. If you do get some of the green part in, don't worry, that part is also edible. Try not get too much though, the green parts of the Dandelion are bitter.
Once you have separated the flowers, discard the remaining greens. Take the flowers and place them in a towel and pat the excess water off of them. Place them in a bowl.
Next you are going to add:
(for 30 heads of flowers)
1/2 c. of flour
Heads of 30 flowers
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons of minced onion
*Honestly, I add seasoning to taste, and use whatever I am in the mood for. Dandelion flowers have a slight sweet taste, but take on the taste of what you spice them with.
Take your flowers and add the egg, flour and spices. Then you basically mix it until you get a good consistency that you can form a patty.
In a skillet, add olive oil, about 2 Tablespoons. Fry the patty for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown.
Form into a ball and make a patty.
You may need to add flour to get the mixture to hold. Just add it a little at a time. When you do that remember to add a bit more spices to balance it out.
B-B-Q Volunteer Veggie Style!
Once you have your burger cooked, top it with whatever your heart desires. For mine, I use tomato, baby Kale to pump up the nutritional value, whole grain bun and garlic sauce. Yum!