With a mild, slightly bitter taste, young dandelion leaves are good added to salads, especially when used as a contrast to a sweet ingredient. Otherwise, the leaves may be added to soups or braised as a vegetable. Dandelion leaves are said to help aid digestion and are a natural diuretic. They have more than seven times the vitamin K content of broccoli, are high in iron and vitamin A and also contain vitamin C, B6, thiamin, riboflavin and calcium. Every part of the dandelion plant is safe to eat. Eating dandelion, however, can sometimes interfere with certain medications and antibiotics (the dandelion may flush antibiotics more quickly out of the body). Dandelion leaves are hard to buy so picking your own is the easiest option. Rinse, pat dry and store in a plastic bag in the fridge. Some imposter plants look similar to the dandelion so know what you are picking. The real deal has oblong leaves that are smooth, top and bottom, but with a jagged edge. The leaves grow in a rosette close to the ground, with one flower per hollow stem. Dandelion leaves are not furry or prickly.
Keen to try out dandelion in your cooking? Try it out with these recipes.