Dandelion Greens In Amish Cuisine
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.
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”.
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.
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?
Every spring we had Dandelion Gravy we put on boiled mashed potatoes. I would help my Dad pick the flowers to make wine.
Sounds like you can use just about the whole plant, greens for salad, gravy, etc, flowers for wine, and roots for the “coffee”. Just wondering about the stalks.
Dandelions with bacon
My mother used to harvest the greens, fry up 2-3 pieces of bacon, drain part of the grease and add the washed greens to the remaining bacon fat. She would saute them with a little salt, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and a drizzle of apple cider vinegar. When they had wilted, she would add the crumbled bacon. YUM!!! I saw them in Meijer’s last year and just had to buy then and try it. Memories!!!
We have been getting some bacon related suggestions on Facebook too, like hot bacon dressing. I think this is the one I want to try most of all, that and the “coffee” 🙂
Mom always said that you had to pick the greens before the yellow flower appeared or they would be very bitter.
My dad used a little cornmeal he would lightly scorch it brown. Then boil the half the dandelion and half of the burned cornmeal sometimes add some chickory.
Additional use for dandelions
Take the small leaf near the heart of the plant.Chew it about 30 minutes prior to a meal. It will surprise you the difference it makes in your digestion. Score another for the little “weed”!
Interesting Jim, I guess you could call this a digestion “hack” 🙂
I’m interested in herbs and foraging, and have tried chickweed sauteed in butter, and bracket fungus (bit like quorn, needs other ingredients to flavour it) but not dandelion. As regards a dressing, I recently came across an article which said that rapeseed oil is healthier than olive oil (and we grow it here in England rather than needing to import it from the EU!)http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/features/rapeseed-oil-michelin-star
I wondered whether Amish farmers grow rapeseed?
I haven’t ever heard of this being grown in large quantities, and don’t know much about the plant, but with the expanding and increasingly diverse produce operations among Amish it’s quite possible someone is doing it on some scale.
Grandpa's "mess of dandelion greens"
Every spring my granddad, who was born in Crider’s Corners, PA (north of Pittsburgh, near Zelienople) went out in the fields and dug up dandelion greens. I think he used a knife. Grandma made a dressing using the same ingredients mentioned in some of the other comments–sugar, vinegar, bacon drippings. I was a picky eater as a kid and probably ate as few of the greens as I could get away with. I’d love to have them now.
I’m afraid I automatically equate dandelions with weed killer, and would be hard pressed to “trust” eating “wild” dandelions. I’m wondering about CULTIVATED dandelions, which I assume are the ones sold commercially (like in the bags in the photos). I, too, would like to try the coffee…does anyone know where I could get it (mail order, I guess)?
I was raised on Danelion greens !! Yum they are getting harder ti find !! They are not coming up in my yard anymore !! I would like to know more about them !!
Dandelion 'Blossom' Cookie :)
AWESOME little crunchy Cookie