Ah, spring is finely here! We passed a yard the other day and it was covered with dandelions. Inspiration struck! We gathered our paring knives and headed out to the yard for a mini foraging expedition.Happy-Spring

Dandelion recipes are found in just about every circa 1800s cookbook I’ve ever read. Most common are the boiled dandelion greens. We’re talking really, really boiled – from 20-60 minutes, which, I suppose, would make sense if you are preparing mature plants…

Dandelion-Boiled-Franco-American-1844
Boiled Dandelion Recipe – 1844

And while I’m sure that well-boiled dandelions are edible, I’m not sure if they’re palatable. Besides, who would prefer soggy greens to a fresh spring salad comprised of delicate young leaves?

Dandelion-Salad-Franco-American-1844
Dandelion Salad Recipe – 1844

Wondering how to get started with dandelions? The internet is filled with informational videos and how-tos, and it is pretty straight forward.

Summary:

  1. Find a dandelion infestation.
  2. Harvest.
  3. Clean.
  4. Cook. (or not)

    Dandelion-Greens
    Foraged Dandelion Greens Soaking in Cold Water & Vinegar

The cleaning part is a bit of work and will take several rinsings. I left our leaves soaking in cold water and vinegar over night to help loosen soil. Does the vinegar help to sanitize the greens? Maybe. Maybe not. But it doesn’t hurt.

Or so I thought…

Dandelion-Yuck2.1

As is want to happen, along came life and I did not have the opportunity to drain the greens the next morning…or even the next afternoon…

So they soaked. And they soaked.

And they soaked some more … until around lunchtime on day two, when I was able to take them out of the fridge and…YUCK! They were no longer fresh, vibrant, tender greens, but a grayish-green mishmash of soggy leaves.

Not even Freckles the rabbit would eat them (Yes, I know, using him as my poison checker may seem cruel, but in this instance I felt well entitled as the higher mammal in the house).

Back to square one.

We picked up our pairing knives and headed back to the yard to repeat the exercise. This time, opting out of the over-night soak. Using the recipe above, the salad came out well.

Dandelion-Salad-Vinegarette
Dandelion Salad with Vinaigrette -1844

Served with sardines and toast, this made a lovely lunch. My daughter thought it was delicious, commenting, “It tastes like something you’d pay a lot of money for at California café.” High praise from my normally monosyllabic teen.

Chez Panisse here I come!

Lesson learned: If you don’t have time to properly clean your dandelion greens, feed them to the rabbits.

Have you every used dandelion greens? If so, what did you make and how did it turn out?

More Fun Discoveries

Source: The Franco-American Cookery Book – or – How to Live Well and Wisely Every Day in the Year. By Felix Deliee, 1844.

19 thoughts on “Dandelion Salad ~1844

  1. This is a great post, thanks for sharing! I love dandelions! They are so sunny and happy looking. I have just started a poetry blog here on WordPress in case you have time to look? Today’s post is about being in the moment and features a pic of me lying in a dandelion meadow! Happy Monday, Sam 🙂

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    1. They are so cheery! Our rabbit loves them, too! I was reading a book about French cooking in Provence circa 1960 and it was describing how every family kept rabbits for meat and the workers would bring home greens on the way home from work to fatten them up!

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