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I heard (not sure if this is urban legend) that you can eat dandillion (the stuff that grows in my yard and I'm always trying to kill). Is that true? What part can I eat and how do you prepare them.

BTW, what else can be foraged out of the yard?

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  1. Its true - but most dandelion greens that i eat are grown for that purpose. They are larger and leafier . But if you know what has been in your yard and you skipped the toxic fertilizer then you can eat the leaves as a start. Its a bitter green - sort of like rapini or other greens. Saute it put a little shredded carrot or something sweet with it or blanche it and make a salad.

    ...You can hang and cure those garden gnomes - creating a kind of prosciutto :-)

    1. If you've been using anything you wouldn't want on a salad to kill the dandelions, you won't want to eat the ones in your yard. If you want to try them I see them at my farmers market and I saw some at Whole Foods last week.

      1. I've been to a restaurant before that put them in one of their field green salads - stem and flower.

        1. use a short, stiff bladed knife - dig at an angle next to the dandelion, cutting its root completely thru - about 1/4 - 1/2 ' below the ground surface. Hopefully, u will end up with a rosette of leaves (the whole plant). If u cut it too high and the leaves separate , its still ok. Only do this as soon as spring peeks out - because when the buds form heavily and they flower- they r way too bitter for a salad, which is all i ever used them for. U must then rinse thoroughly and u have the best salad greens imaginable. Oil/ vinegar dressing , and I could eat it everyday.

          They can be cooked with pork hocks , also. Other things u can eat are pansies , most flowers, cattails,burdock, lambs tongue, and purslane.

            1. Soup, I think you can eat hosta, although I've never done it.

              Yes, way back when, my grandparents (back before pesticides were used on highways) and their peers could be seen on the sides of the road, picking the dandelion foliage. Washed well and mixed with red onion, oil and vinegar, they make a tasty salad.

              3 Replies
              1. re: dolores

                Dolores, did you mean to say 'horta' or hosta ?

                BTW, another great thread --> http://www.chowhound.com/topics/448805

                1. re: Cheese Boy

                  Hosta, the garden plant. The Japanes eat hosta, from what I've read. Since the OP asked what else one can eat out of the yard, I remembered that.

                  I would be afraid to try it, though.

                  1. re: dolores

                    Oh no !! Please tell me it isn't so. They eat those beautiful plants that make lovely borders? ... ... Incredible, yet sad, especially given the wide array of greens available to most of us.

                    I thought for sure you meant 'horta', which is the Greek translation for dandelion greens.

                    The OP should try purslane (verdolaga). It's a wild green found usually growing in soil that receives a lot of water. See pic.

              2. My husband told me that when he was growing up his dad would never allow them to kill the dandelions in the yard. Apparently he had been a POW in WW II and after the Germans abandoned the concentration camps, there was nothing to eat. The soldiers had to live on dandelion greens. I guess my father-in-law always wants to have something on hand just in case.
                As to the second part of your query, you can also eat day lilies. My mom used to lightly saute them and serve them with dinner.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Fuser

                  Interesting, and of course sobering, re your FIL.

                  Fuser, the daylily flower??? How interesting, I wonder if they can be prepared like zucchini flowers, which I love.

                  1. re: dolores

                    Dolores, you can stuff daylily flowers like squash blossoms. They taste slightly like a combination of zucchini, lettuce and cucumber. To use the sweet petals in desserts, cut the petals away from the bitter white base of the flower. They also look pretty as a garnish.

                    1. re: Gio

                      Fascinating, Gio. Daylilies are the one flower that have survived my dubious gardening skills, so I have lots and lots of them! I can just see the cheesecake where I can use the hybrids as garnish.

                      Thanks very much.

                    2. re: dolores

                      Daylilys are most traditionally used in the bud stage. Sauteed I believe. Daylilys belong to an entirely different plant family than Lillies. True Lillies grow from a bulb, daylilys from a root crown.

                      Dandelion leaves are a traditional Early American spring tonic. They were gathered and stewed and the "pot likker" drunk as a tonic. Very rich in vitamins and minerals, they were an spring antidote to a winter's worth of cabbage and potatoes from the root cellar.

                  2. There are many edible flowers...calendula. chive flowers, bachelor button, nasturtium to name a few. Be very careful not to confuse Daylilies with other types of Lilies...Easter Lily for example. All lillies are not edible! Here's a useful chart to refer to giving info regarding how to collect, prepare and consume edible flowers.

                    As for dandelions... the flowers are sweetest when picked young, and just before eating. They have a sweet, honey-like flavor. Mature flowers are bitter. Dandelion buds are tastier than the flowers so it's best to pick these when they are very close to the ground, tightly bunched in the center, and about the size of a small gumball. Good raw or steamed. Also made into wine. Young leaves taste good steamed, or tossed in salads. As a garnish for a rice dish use dandelion petals like confetti over the rice. I like dandelion greens in a salad. Love the bitter taste.

                    Finally, if any type of fertilizer of herbacide/pesticide has been used on the grass where dandelions, or any other flower, is growing...do not eat!! Make sure you absolutely know the flower you're picking to eat. Do not eat flowers from florists.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Gio

                      True, Gio, I forgot about that.

                      The leaves have to picked before the flower turns to the seed head.