Much has transpired in the last month in the Blendily garden, and we have many tales to tell, and here’s the first!  Ever since I learned of the detoxifying and liver function boosting properties of dandelion root tea, I’ve welcomed the arrival of dandelions in Spring.  As a former non-gardener, I never held much disdain for them, and happily blowed countless seeds into the wind, wishing away.  I find it amusing that most avid gardeners/non-foragers were likely not amused in the least bit.

Dandelion

Gathering dandelion root, or any plant root in general, is actually a very labor-intensive process.  Large flowers and leaves do not necessarily equate large roots.  Furthermore, roots shrink significantly in size as they dry, so it takes quite an effort to amass an adequate amount of root for tea.  Nonetheless, the effort is rewarding as you connect to the earth in a way that is intimate and direct.  If you’re not keen on spending time in the dirt, dandelion root tea is available online or commonly found in herbal tea sections in supermarkets.

Dandelion Root

Dandelion Taraxacum officinale greens can be eaten fresh and are also great agents for detoxifying.  The taste is quite bitter though, so I generally try to use small and tender leaves sparingly in salads.  I also like to lightly saute them with other greens to mask the bitterness.  The flowers are edible as well I’ve heard, but haven’t tried.

On a sunny Sunday, I set out to harvest dandelions and dead nettles.  While I had experience with dandelions, dead nettle’s culinary uses were unknown to me.  First step was correct identification, my internet search terms were “Portland, Pacific Northwest, Weeds, Edible Weeds…etc.”  After pouring through multiple sites and images and being sure of proper identification, I looked for appetizing ways to eat them.

Purple Dead Nettle

Dead Nettle Lamium purpureumare is named so because it bears resemblance to Nettle Urtica dioica but does not sting.  These little purple flower weeds pop up everywhere in early Spring, but they don’t last long.  Urban forager Becky Lerner gives us the rundown on Dead Nettles on her Portland-based blog, First Ways.  I decided to try them in a smoothie.

Weed Harvesting

After I had the end results in mind, I set out to work.  As I was pulling the weeds, I had an epiphany about the vibrant energy in weeds.  These plants, fought across the ends of the earth by farmers and gardeners alike, somehow manage to persevere and proliferate year after year.  I recognize now that weeds contain powerful life force, and that it makes perfect sense to eat them for health purposes.

So dig right in, Salud! Bon Appetite!

Purple Dead Nettle Smoothie

 

Blendily products featuring Dandelion Root:

Blendily Tea Blends are Coming Soon, Stay Tuned!

 

Read More:

Weed ID Gallery | Preen 

Weed Identification | Weed Science Society of America

PNW Weed Identification Module | Oregon State University – Department of Horticulture

Dandelion: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings | WebMD

 

Purple Dead Nettle: A Weed That’s Good to Eat