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Are dandelion roots tasty?

Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by Nikolaos, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. Nikolaos

    Nikolaos Gardener

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    They have seriously annoyed the crap out of me this year in terms of weeding, so this would be a form of revenge! :biggrin: Other recipes for the little sods?

    This is what is in my little foraging guide...

    Cooked Dandelion Root, Japanese style

    1 cup scrubbed dandelion roots cut in thin rings
    1 tbsp vegetable oil
    Water
    Salt
    Soy sauce

    Saute the dandelion in oil. Add a little water and salt, cover and stew until the roots are soft and most of the moisture has evaporated. Add a dash of soy sauce.

    Thanks,

    Nick
     
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    • Mike Allen

      Mike Allen Total Gardener

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      Nick. To my knowledge, dandelion roots are poisonous. The contain a type of liquid latex that is very bitter to taste. Perhaps this is a warning in itself. The leaves of the smooth leaved dandelion are quite nice along with a cheese sandwich
       
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      • Nikolaos

        Nikolaos Gardener

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      • Redwing

        Redwing Wild Gardener

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        But butterflies are attracted to them!

        Over the past 10-15 years I’ve adopted a more wild style of gardening with the aim of attracting and encouraging more birds into my garden. Wildflowers, and by that I mean natives, are key to the success of this type of gardening. Dandelions are a really good example of this; they begin flowering on mild late winter days, when also some early bumblebees emerge from hibernation. Of course they need to eat and dandelions are important food source for them at this time. Early butterflies also benefit. So for me, I do not see dandelions as a problem but as an asset. We keep the lawn on the long side to allow the dandelions to flower. It also benefits species diversity as there is now a wide range of other flowering species in the lawn. To me it’s attractive. We have Linnets and Goldfinches feeding on the dandelion seed heads over the summer months. This is proof that this style of gardening is beneficial to wildlife.

        This is probably not the response you expected, @Nikolaos and I’ve gone off on a tangent but it’s another viewpoint on dandelions.
         
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          Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
        • luciusmaximus

          luciusmaximus Total Gardener

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          I have to agree with @Redwing. My own garden is the same as regards Dandelions and other flowers. I do feed some of the Dandelions to my bunnies but not the root. I love Dandelions, so pretty and so beneficial to the wildlife. Not just Bees and Butterflies, but other pollinators too and I see the Sparrows picking out the seeds as well.
           
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          • Nikolaos

            Nikolaos Gardener

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            Haha! It certainly wasn't, but a fascinating read nonetheless! I find the insects, especially lepidoptera and bees, far more interesting than birds, TBH. (what started my fascination with insects was watching an amazing film several years ago, "Microcosmos", highly recommended to anyone who hasn't watched it) Plus I recently had to move my birdbath out of my back garden due to my youngest cat killing a young starling, I found that seriously upsetting and just had to do something to stop it happening again. :o(

            I think to really explore and be successful with "wild gardening" it has to be done on a fairly large scale like with your garden, Redwing. My garden is only around 140-150 square meters, so I think what I'm aiming for is more "pollinator-friendly cottage gardening". So the challenge here is to find the longest-flowering beneficial plants. Those early bumblebees do appear in my garden and in considerable numbers tho, mainly due to my Lonicera fragrantissima and to a lesser extent, my Erica carnea. It's just lovely seeing bees so early in the year! The early butterflies are an area where I need to do more research to work out the appropriate plants for them.

            No, I've completely banned forget-me-not's, teasels and dandelions from the garden and my allotment (which is about the same size), but I will be going a little 'wilder' on my allotment and letting most of the pollinator-friendly natives do their own thing. Probably adding a small pond, too. :) I suppose this goes back to the brief chat I had with Verdun yesterday on the butterfly-friendly thread, they have to be plants I love, that's the priority.

            Nick
             
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            • pete

              pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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              I think you roast them, then grind them, and call it coffee.:biggrin:
               
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              • Redwing

                Redwing Wild Gardener

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                Nothing wrong with a '“pollinator friendly cottage garden”. It doesn’t have to be a large garden to be a successful wildlife garden. There was a television programme recently, was it on Gardeners World? Can’t remember but it featured a lady who has a town garden in Shoreham-by-Sea and it’s quite small. Within a year she had transformed it into a small magnet for birds and insects by taking out some pretty useless shrubs and adding a pond and flowers to attract insects. Making a pond is the single best thing you can do for attracting wildlife but I do think you would get more enjoyment from it if you had it in your garden, where you can see it whenever you are at home, rather than at the allotment.

                The time when bees and other pollinators most need nectar and when it’s sometimes hard to come by is in late winter/early spring and the colder autumn months. If there is nothing for them to feed on they die, so in my view, it is these times when one should really look for plants that they can utilise. One plant that is really beneficial, that not many people know about is Teucrium fruticans. In my garden I have known it flowering in every month of the year, provided it’s frost free. The early and late insects go for it (as well as at other times). It has a few flowers most of the time. It does require well drained soil and a sunny spot. It withstands frost as long as it’s not super cold but does not like wet. The other good ones I’ve observed for these periods are Verbena bonarinensis and the evergreen Berberis’.

                Hope this helps.
                 
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                • Nikolaos

                  Nikolaos Gardener

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                  @Redwing That sounds like an interesting little feature, I'll have to track it down. :)

                  Ah, but at the allotment I could have a larger pond and it's only about 300 metres away from my home, if not less than that. Plus I plan to go a lot 'wilder' there and let many natives do their own thing (within limits, of course) so it seems like a more harmonious idea. Yes, I am really waking up to the benefit of ponds. Many in my neighbourhood have them at this point and you can really see the difference between having them scattered here and there and a 'proper network' of them. Getting quite a few dragonflies visiting my back garden now! :)

                  See this is why I love this forum, you get an experiential perspective from people who clearly observe their gardens closely, like you and luciusmaximus! The RHS reference doesn't even mention pollinators so I would've been unaware of it's benefit to wildlife if I had just read that! But an H3, so it wouldn't be hardy in my region, unfortunately. (Nottinghamshire)

                  Teucrium fruticans | tree germander/RHS Gardening

                  Evergreen berberis, another plant I am unfamiliar with. This one?

                  Berberis stenophylla

                  Sounds like a great 'match' for my front garden! Polychromatic scheme (as opposed to my back one which is "cool"), hardy, Winter/Spring-flowering, fragrant. I already have Lonicera fragrantissima, Chimonanthus praecox and Viburnum bodnantense there (I repeatedly read that the last of these was very pollinator-friendly, but no sign of that yet! :dunno:) Again no mention of pollinator-friendliness on the RHS listing, what use are they exactly (?), haha!

                  Berberis x stenophylla Lindl. | golden barberry/RHS Gardening

                  Only problem could be its size. Hopefully drastic pruning/shaping wouldn't affect flower production too much!

                  Nick
                   
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                  • RobB

                    RobB Gardener

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                    @Nikolaos
                    You are right about RHS, very often on their site the description is either vague or non existent, no details for pollinators anywhere. In these times of bees etc. being decimated surely they should be giving this kind of information if it applies.
                    Very often you can put a plant in and it will come up with nothing apart from the Latin? name, about time they started being more useful. I never bother to go on the site if it appears in a search, more useful information on here.:dbgrtmb:
                     
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                    • Nikolaos

                      Nikolaos Gardener

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                      @RobB I have a few hobbies/passions and often find that amateur enthusiasts know more than some professionals, especially when it comes to specialisation as opposed to broad, general knowledge. That's why fora such as this one are so useful, I think. Perhaps it's due to the professionals perceiving things as being split into work/life, whereas the passionate amateur is always fixated with their subject! :)

                      Nick
                       
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                      • Redwing

                        Redwing Wild Gardener

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                        Point taken about pond location.

                        Thanks for compliment. I like this style of wild gardening I do these days. There is more time for observation.

                        There are lots of evergreen berberis’. They are all very hardy, covered in prickles and have yellow or orange flowers. They come in different sizes so that would be a factor in whichever variety you choose. The one I have and I don’t remember the name is beginning to flower now. It will have a few flowers until it gets really cold and then start up again on bright mild spells in February followed by lots of flowers. Some people don’t like it because they think the flowers too bright and the prickles but that’s outweighed by the benefits to wildlife IMO. It also has berries the thrushes like.

                        There is this great book you might like. Probably available from the library if you don’t want to buy it.

                        https://www.amazon.co.uk/RSPB-Garde...teway&sprefix=Gardening+for+wi,aps,196&sr=8-2
                         
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                        • Nikolaos

                          Nikolaos Gardener

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                          @Redwing Thanks for the book recommendation! Sounds like a great all-rounder for attracting wildlife, seems worth buying for the 500 plant catalogue alone. :smile: Great to hear there are also orange-flowered types and smaller ones, not keen on intense yellows but I absolutely love the flower shape!

                          Still don't know if dandelion roots are tasty but this thread has been far more interesting anyway! :biggrin: Only one way to find out, I suppose...

                          Forgot to ask but was really curious @Redwing, what happened to that lovely white Verbena bonariensis you had pop up in your garden a couple of years ago? Read the thread recently. Did you manage to keep it going from cuttings?

                          Nick
                           
                          Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
                        • Redwing

                          Redwing Wild Gardener

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                          Yes, the thread took a direction all it’s own. Been nice chatting to you. Here are pictures of my berberis taken today. It’s been in about six years and is less than a metre high. I’ll update the white verbena bon thread later.

                          EC0722B3-CB72-4494-B3DF-78DEBA5A3FB3.jpeg

                          020EDC77-177F-4249-863D-AB4486CFDA8A.jpeg
                           
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                          • Selleri

                            Selleri Super Gardener

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                            I used to grow dandelions in a pot when we had guinea pigs. Now that we have degus who prefer their veg very crunchy, I let the plants grow big, dig them up, dry them and serve the little connoisseurs :biggrin:

                            Dandelion.jpegDegu.JPG
                             
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