Offered by Kristy.
From the book, Honey from a Weed
Dandelions, though never cultivated, were brought to market in England in the 19th century, just as weeds are brought to market round the Mediterranean today. 'When lettuce and endive are scare, the dandelion might be dug up from the roadside and pasture in winter and forced in pots like succory.' (Loudon, Encyclopaedia of Gardening) Succory is a portmanteau name which may apply to Cichorium intybus and to other plants (Picris spp) with a certain bitterness; these were formerly cultivated and 'forced' for salads ('forced' means blanched by earthing up). They are among the many plants with dandelion-like leaves, all sheltering under the radicchiella umbrella, all edible.
Insalata Di Radicchiella * dandelion salad
Gather young dandelions by cutting a stub of milky root together with its head of leaves, or take the plant whole when small. Wash under the tap, pare the root, leave in water for one hour, then drain, shake dry, and serve with a vinaigrette dressing, or add to a well dressed beetroot salad.
Visitors to Girona in Catalonia should enquire in autumn after a pheasant or duck prepared with dandelions (El faisà o l'ànec amb queixals de vella). In the Pyrenees at high altitudes the variety alpinum is equally edible.
Radíkia Me Rízi Tis Kyrías Agápis, dandelion and chicory cooked in Kyría Agápi's way.
In Kavála, Macedonia, now a megalopolis, culinary traditions carry on: grandmothers and great-aunts go on cooking in the age-old way. Here I should mention that weed-gatherers have never been known to measure or weigh.
After thoroughly washing the gathered dandelions and chicory, changing the water several times, Kyría Agápi chops them finely on a board, pours olive oil into a pan, puts in the chopped plants, adds a little water, salt. When they have cooked for a few minutes, she throws in a handful of long-grained rice and some pine kernels, and continues to cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is completely absorbed.
If the pine kernels are lacking, this dish can be served with a grated piquant cheese. The Sculptor, in spring, often has this for lunch. Weeds promote energy.
I found some information on the nutritional value of dandelions. Dandelions seem to rate pretty well:
Offered by Mike.
Taraxacum officinale, the Dandelion! Two outstanding qualities: it is useful in disorders of the liver and of the gallbladder. Chew fresh stems for relief in chronic infl. of the liver. As long as the plant is in flower, diabetics should slowly chew up to 10 stems daily. Also of value in itchy and scaly rashes and eczema, improves the gastric flow of juices; fresh stems can help remove gallstones painlessly, they stimulate the liver and the gallbladder. Has a diuretic, sudorific as well as stimulating effect. A herbal tea can be made with the fresh or dried leaves but best eaten raw, stems and roots as well!
Offered by Pierre.