I had a dandelion salad the other day. It was crisp and tasty, with a slightly bitter undertone which I didn’t mind. It was probably the freshest thing I ate all day. It left me feeling healthy.

Most people consider dandelions nuisance plants. But for others, they are a treat to be harvested and used in various dishes, and even made into beverages. And that group includes the Amish.

Dandelion Greens

Reader Jerry, who has previously shared visits to PA auctions (see the Milroy “Nebraska” Amish auction, or a $9,861 Amish buggy) gives us the scoop on the Amish and dandelions:

It appears that Amish and Mennonite folks like to take advantage of one early spring green treat. It’s dandelion greens. I’m seeing them in almost every market and at food auctions.

They appear to be loaded with vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to the human body. The tender young green tops are being added to salads, blended into scrambled eggs and even made into dandelion gravy. They can use dandelion anywhere that you would use spinach I’m told. The roots are being pulled, washed and dried. They are then ground fine and used to make “coffee”.

Field of Dandelion Flowers

Not all Amish are fond of them however. One Amish lady says her father always said that he would never eat anything that the cows won’t eat. I’m tempted to try them myself but my yard is treated and when a dandelion does manage to survive, I pull it as a treat for my backyard chicken flock. My “girls” are not however fond of the flowers but devour the rest of the plant.

I was surprised to learn that you can make a “coffee” out of this plant, though dandelions can be used to make wine, which some Amish people do.

Packaged Dandelion Greens

If you’re interested in transferring these weeds from your front yard to the kitchen table, you might try this recipe for dandelion sour cream salad from Lovina Eicher.

Have you ever tried dandelion greens? Any good dishes or recipes to recommend?