Did you know that there are many resources hidden in nature around you? Resources that could be used for our health, for beauty and for food. It’s true! God created an amazing amazing world and I can’t help but feel that the most of us aren’t tapping into these wonderful resources enough. I know I fail to do so. Today we’re focusing on dandelions and I show you how to make dandelion cookies.
Dandelions, they are often right at your doorstep (literally) yet they are so easy to overlook. Why? Because we consider them to be annoying weeds. Yes they can be annoying, because they grow so fast and seem to pop up all over the place. But wait, what are weeds really? If you search for the definition of the word ‘weeds’ then you’ll find something along the lines of this:
“A wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants”.
I love the Dutch word we use for weeds: Onkruid. Why do I love it? It’s because of this: The Dutch word for herbs is kruiden. The words used for weeds and herbs are very similar. Translated to English the Dutch word for weeds literally means: not herbs. Ha! I don’t know why, but the obvious-ness of it just makes me giggle.
So clearly the main difference between the plants that we cultivate and weeds is that we want the one, while not wanting the other. Of course with both of those ‘groups’, we need to be careful and aware that not all of them are safe to use, but the point that I am trying to make is that weeds is one of those resources that we might be overlooking.
A bitter experience
It is about a month ago that I started to get intrigued by dandelions. They were popping up all over the place and I had read some blog posts and Pinterest pins with dandelion recipes in it. I’ll never forget the day that I actually started to act on my new fascination. Nathan and I were sitting in the sun in our garden. I had been eye-ing some dandelions in front of us, while remembering the words ‘it tastes like honey’ from a blog post I had read. I stood up, pinched a dandelion flower, inspected it for insects and put it in my mouth. My husband looked at me with a disgusted face while I started chewing it. ‘What on earth are you doing?!’ he said. With a full mouth I responded: ‘It’s supposed to taste like honey’. ‘Ok well still, I have only put a dandelion in my mouth once, and I was a child!’. After a couple of seconds the bitter flavour of the green part of the flower started to hit me and my husband started to laugh. I spit the dandelion on the grass with a disappointed face, which only egged him on more.
This bitter experience, however, didn’t stop my fascination. I later on found out that I should have only eaten the petals, but I’m afraid it still didn’t taste like honey to me. These cookies however guys, DO taste like honey, which might be because they have honey in them as well… anyway, it’s worth a try!
The benefits and uses of dandelions
Before I share the recipe though, I want to just quickly tell you what the benefits of dandelions are. I am not doctor, nutritionist or anything along that line, so I have relied on other websites for the following information. The websites I have used will be linked to, in order for you to be able to research further if wanted or needed.
From root to flower, dandelion are highly nutritious plants, loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. It’s a great source for vitamin A (vision, immune system and reproduction), C (growth, development and repair of all body tissues) and K (play a role in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating blood calcium levels). Crazy thing is… the vitamin A content in dandelion leaves are higher than in carrots! Move over carrots, dandelion leaves are going to be the new eye superfood!
Both the Dandelion leaf and root have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat liver, gall bladder, kidney ailments, weak digestion and rheumatism. They are also considered mildly laxative and the leaves have traditionally been used as a diuretic.
The recipe for dandelion cookies
This recipe is from Our Eco Friendly Life. The ‘adjustments’ that I made as it were is that I substituted the Agave syrup with honey and I used coconut oil.
The Ingredients you’ll need:
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed with dandelion petals
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (but other oils could work as well!)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tbsp water
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda or kitchen soda. I usually pick it up in Home Bargains, since it is so cheap there!).
Now this is very important. When foraging for dandelions, make sure to do so in an area which isn’t treated with any nasty chemicals. It’s also best to avoid roadsides!
Be careful to inspect the flowers for insects and it is optional to rinse them with water. I didn’t do that because as Our Eco Friendly Life says, it could rinse away the nectar and with that some of the flavour!
As my ‘bitter experience’ earlier in this blog post shows, you’ll want to be careful while pulling the petals out of the flower head. Avoid as many green bits as possible, since they are quite bitter.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Use your hands to work the ingredients into a nice dough.
3. Roll into small balls about an inch/2 cm thick and place on a baking tray.
4. Bake in the middle of the oven for between 10-15 minutes, until slightly golden on top.
5. Allow to cool and then enjoy!
If you try this recipe, I’d love to know what your thoughts are. Also, have you ever eaten a dandelion flower?