Roaming the forests and mountains was a normal part of growing up in Slovenia. We were very connected to nature and its seasons.
From a young age we are taught that there are many wild plants and fruits that you can eat. You learn this from parents by taking trips foraging for chestnuts, mushrooms and blackberries, among the most common. You are also taught some of these skills in school, which is refreshing. 🙂
Dandelion is One of the Healthiest Wild Plants
Dandelion is one of my favourite edible wild plants. You can use all parts of the plant: roots, leaves, and flowers.
I went foraging for dandelion leaves (greens), which can be used for a refreshing spring salad. You probably know how dandelion looks like – many people think of it as a stubborn weed that never seems to leave your garden, no matter how much you try to pull it out.
Dandelion has lots of medicinal properties.
It has been used for centuries to treat a myriad of physical ailments, including cancer, acne, liver disease and digestive disorders.
Nutritional Value of Dandelion Leaves
You can eat dandelion leaves cooked or raw. They are a source of vitamins A, C and K.
They also contain vitamin E, folate and small amounts of other B vitamins. Furthermore, the greens also contain a substantial amount of several minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Dandelion contains high levels of the antioxidant beta-carotene, which is known to provide strong protection against cellular damage and oxidative stress (Trusted Source).
This incredible plant is also rich in another category of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are found in the highest concentration in the flower but are present in the roots, leaves and stems as well.
When to Forage for Dandelion Leaves?
The best time to forage for dandelion leaves is early spring – in Europe this is from March to April. Once dandelions start flowering their leaves become too bitter to enjoy in salads.
I usually wait for the rain to come for at least one day, because the soil will be dry from the spring sun and it will be harder to cut dandelion from soil that is too dry and compact. After the first rain I venture out and find spots where there are no fertilisers being used on the meadows.
Please only take the amount you need so that there is plenty of dandelion left in the nature – so that it’s there for years and generations to come.
Spring Salad with Dandelion, Violets and Primrose
My favourite way to eat dandelion leaves is to make it in a salad.
I chose to add some spring flowers like violets and primroses. I also add boiled potatoes and cold pressed pumpkin oil and vinegar. Pumpkin oil is really healthy and goes very well together with dandelion.
Have you ever tried dandelion leaves?
What is the most common wild plant you forage for?
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