Traditionally, dandelion leaves are eaten as a spring tonic, to gently cleanse the body with the change of seasons, but they are also edible in summer and fall.Eating dandelion supports the liver and kidneys, which are burdened by the breakdown of cells as the warmer weather thins our blood and mucus. Dandelion tastes mildest before it flowers, but the greens may be eaten throughout the growing season, for the high concentration of calcium, potassium, iron, Vitamin A, and other nutrients, the vitality inherent in uncultivated plants, and the joy of being able to eat one’s lawn.
People troubled with digestion may find it helpful to eat a few dandelion leaves--the fresher the better--about 20 minutes before eating. The bitter taste, largely absent from the American diet (except for coffee and beer), will stimulate secretion of digestive enzymes, making the meal easier to digest. Those who haven’t yet acquired a taste for healthful bitterness can rip the leaves into small pieces, and they’ll blend right into salad or soup. Simmering the leaves in a little water for ten to fifteen minutes reduces the bitterness, and application of a dressing (try oil, vinegar, and soy sauce) further enhances the flavor. (If possible, drink the cooking water so you won’t lose the priceless nutrients.)