Yes, believe it or not, something you consider to be a weed is actually food.

Spring is here and so is lawn mowing season. Many are eager to get outside and make their yards stand out in the neighborhood. Or, at least, give their lawn the first mow of the season.

Before that, you'll probably pick up sticks, and debris, and make a plan for those pesky weeds invading your beautiful, green lawn. This includes dandelions. However, before you start mowing and planning on getting rid of the yellow little devils...

A Case to Keep Dandelions

STOP! Don’t mow over those dandelions in your lawn. Stop spraying poison on them. Pluck them. Wash them. Cook them. Eat them. Yes, they’re not only edible, they’re incredibly healthy for you.

Dandelions are more nutritious than most of the vegetables you’ll be planting in your garden over the next few weeks. One cup of dandelion greens provides almost two times as much iron as spinach, more vitamin C than tomatoes, and over 500 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin K. They’re a powerhouse of Vitamins A, C, B1, and B2, potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, and calcium.

Dandelions were once revered as beautiful, colorful, and beneficial plants. They have a long history of culinary and medicinal use. At some point in the early twentieth century, humans decided that dandelions were “weeds.” In the old days, gardeners typically killed the grass to make room for more dandelions. Now, we kill the dandelions to make our lawns look uniform and pretty.

Those yellow flowers that pop up across New York every Spring are highly beneficial to your health. They’re a free, natural first-aid kit in your garden. They help remove toxins from your bloodstream. Dandelions are a gentile diuretic. Dandelions provide necessary nutrients that help your digestive system operate at peak efficiency. They’re good for weight loss, heart health, and enhancing overall nutrition.

Dandelion leaves can be boiled or eaten fresh. They’re a perfect addition to salads. (When picking, choose the young leaves—since the older ones tend to be more bitter) The Dandelion roots can be dried or roasted to make a coffee/tea hybrid. The dandelion flowers can be fermented into beer or wine. Obviously, you’ll want to harvest your dandelions from uphill areas (versus downhill), or near any property where your dogs have relieved themselves, or where you’ve used herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers.

Dozens, if not hundreds of easy-to-use dandelion recipes are available online.

In addition to being good for you and your family, dandelions are typically one of the first food sources for the bees and other pollinators in early Spring.

It’s time for us to re-write the dandelion story. They deserve a place on your table and in your medicine cabinet again!

An anonymous author and member of our team contributed to this article. 

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