by Linda C Butler
My Grandmother used to harvest wild dandelion greens in the spring to serve as a pot herb. The dandelion, which is not a native plant, was widely available throughout the Prairies and in the spring, it is one of the earliest greens.
I live on the West Coast and at the end of August I cleaned the yard and removed all the dandelions, but it is now October and the dandelions have sprouted again. I harvested the crop and thought about my Grandma and the pioneers on the Prairies who were grateful to this plant for early greens.
Dandelions should only be harvested when the plant is young and tender. If you see yellow flowers, the leaves are too bitter. Cut the crown off with a knife at the top of the root. It will usually come off in one piece, which makes it convenient for handling. To clean the leaves for cooking, cut away the root base, leaving the individual leaves. Add boiling water and cook until it comes to a boil. It is not necessary to totally cover the leaves as they shrink down. Drain off the water and add more boiling water to finish cooking. This second boiling will remove any bitterness from the greens. Remove the greens from the water and coarsely chop. Serve with a few drops of apple cider vinegar and butter.