Dandelion leaves

If you receive this blog via email you will have seen a teaser photo asking if anyone recognises these greens...

Not mustard leaves, not rocket, but dandelions!

You don't see them all the time, but they were at my market for a couple of weeks running so I thought I would do some experimenting. But first I checked up on what these bitter tasting leaves have to offer. 

I came across this article - Dandelion leaves - not a weed but a superfood! 

Dandelion greens are a fantastic source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that our body converts into vitamin A. The greens are actually one of the richest green vegetable sources of beta-carotene, second only to kale.
Dandelion greens are also rich in vitamin C, fibre, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. And if you need vitamin K, there’s no better source than dandelion leaves. With just 55 mg of dandelion leaves you get an outstanding 535 percent of your daily value of vitamin K! They also provide B-complex vitamins, trace minerals and even contain protein.

In French they are called Pisenlit (literally wet the bed) which gives ode to the diuretic qualities of dandelions and they can help with urinary problems. But that's not all... add to that bone boosting, liver cleansing and anti-cancer properties due to the: 

antioxidant luteolin which actually poisons cancer cells when it binds to them, rendering the cells ineffective and unable to reproduce. This has been seen mostly in prostate cancer, however more studies are currently being done to test the viability against other cancers. 

So what to do with them? They are actually very bitter so adding them into a green smoothie in the morning does give a particular taste.... 

My most successful recipe was this salad with raw beetroot. The combination of the sweetness of the beetroot and with maple syrup (you could also use some honey) in the dressing with the bitterness of the dandelion leaves was really delicious.