Dandelion Root - Plated with Asparagus

Wild Edibles 101: Dandelion Root

Dandelion Root

The Dandelion Plant is an incredible and versatile wild edible.  From flower to root, the entire plant is edible.  The focus of this post, however, is the root. 

Dandelion Growing in Flower Garden

Dandelion Growing in Flower Garden

Dandelion Growing At Edge of Woods

Dandelion Growing At Edge of Woods

I don’t think I need to go into too much detail about how to identify this plant.  Most everyone knows what the dandelion looks like.  It has very distinct leaves with no poisonous look-a-likes to my knowledge.  In the spring it commonly has a bright yellow flower.  This flower seeds to a fluffy head of seeds as the plant matures.

Dandelion Seed Head

Dandelion Seed Head

The Dandelion plant has a long carrot-like taproot, so dig deep or you will break it off.  Here is a picture of a few plants I collected to prepare my dandelion root vegetable.

Dandelion Root on Wood Bench

Dandelion Root on Wood Bench

Dandelion Root on Black Shelf

Dandelion Root on Black Shelf

After you’ve dug enough roots, the next step is to wash off the dirt and trim them up.

Dandelion Root - Washed & Trimmed

Dandelion Root – Washed & Trimmed

Then, I typically take a knife blade and lightly scrape off the outside peel. 

Dandelion Root - PEELED

Dandelion Root – PEELED

After the root is peeled I slice it up just like you would a carrot.

Dandelion Root - SLICED

Dandelion Root – SLICED

Dandelion is best prepared like boiled carrots.  Just boil the sliced roots for 5-8 minutes. They soften up and make an excellent vegetable side dish.  I typically just add a little salt, pepper and a cut of butter.
Dandelion Root - Plated with Asparagus

Dandelion Root – Plated with Asparagus

Boiled Dandelion Root w/ Salt, Pepper & Butter

Boiled Dandelion Root w/ Salt, Pepper & Butter

The larger & more mature roots have a slightly bitter (but surprisingly pleasant) taste.  When you harvest dandelion roots, be sure to keep the leaves.  These make an excellent steamed green – prepare them like spinach.

Dandelion Greens For Another Day

Dandelion Greens For Another Day

If preparing the root in the field or over an open fire you can also boil it as long as you have a container.  Otherwise, the roots can be roasted on a stick until tender or placed directly on a bed of hot coals or rocks.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

Creek

Creek Stewart is the Owner & Lead Instructor at Willow Haven Outdoor Survival School located in Central Indiana & online at https://willowhavenoutdoor.com.

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