Dandelion Fritters

Post & all images by contributing writer, Dea Daniels

Green grass! Warm rain! Sunshine!

After a winter which seemed endless, there is sweet relief in the mild beauty of June.

With the sunshine and gardens, however, come the dreaded and maddeningly tenacious dandelions! Popping up as fast as one can dig them, and spreading quickly germinating seeds as fast as a toddler’s puckered wish, the sunny-headed flowers have become the bane of urban sod.

What’s a grass-dweller to do when confronted with such a hardy adversary? How can one cultivate nourishing and vitamin-rich home greens when there are vermin in the soil?

How can one succeed in bringing fresh produce to the table when there the hungry children might chance upon…a weed?!

Well…if you can’t beat ‘em….

The Medicinal & Nutritional Value of Dandelions?

It turns out that the dandelion (taraxacum officinale) didn’t begin in North America as a weed at all! In fact, it was lovingly brought across the sea as a valued medicinal plant to be cultivated and administered for liver and kidney care, while enjoyed on the table as an early-spring salad green.

With as much iron as spinach, the highest levels of vitamin A out of all the cultivated greens, and high levels of Vitamin C, early gardeners weeded out their grass to make room for the dandelions!

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Think about it:

  • A vegetable hardy enough to withstand the harsh climate of the new world (and today’s constantly changing urban landscape).
  • A cultivar with almost no waste products: the heads are brimming with choline and lecithin for liver and kidney health and can be enjoyed fresh, fried, or fermented; the iron-rich leaves are a zippy addition to salads and stir-frys; and the roots can be harvested (dug, dried, ground) as a nourishing substitute to coffee.
  • A plant which supports the soil through aeration, prevents erosion, and draws up calcium from deep within the earth for use by the rest of the garden.
  • A flower which provides exceptional support to bees. As one of the earliest flowers in the spring and late blooming into the fall, the bees of the nation rely on {spray free!!} dandelions to create your honey and to support your community crops.

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How to Make Dandelion Fritters

With this inspiring knowledge and with a spring yard simply brimming with cheery yellow flowers, I gathered my younglings and a bowl and set to work. We started with dandelion smoothies, played with dandelion frittatas, and soon had our minds set on dandelion fritters (or as my eldest calls them, Dandelion Doughnuts). So fun! So healthy! So tasty!

When Doughnut Day finally arrived, gathering the flower heads kept little hands (and mamas!) busy while chatting in the sun. Next, the big boys were invited to mix the batter {I had prepped the dry ingredients beforehand} and to dip the heads {I made two batters, one savory and one sweet}. Then, I tackled pan-frying the battered balls in the waiting coconut oil. Crispy and hot, we loaded the morsels onto a tray with tiny jars of kombucha and feasted under the apple tree. How lovely to say, “Sure sweetie, you can have some more!”

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The fritters were a huge hit and my boys have been asking for them every day! I highly recommend trying them out. They’re not only tasty and nutritious but there is just something fun about dining on dandies! Make it an event with friends and enjoy the summer sun while you’re at it! Just be sure you know that you’re picking in a spray-free area and that they are indeed true dandelions (one flower per stalk, no coarse hair on the leaves).

Dandelion Fritters
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Flour (Whatever flour you like! We used fresh organic wheat, but many have had success with rice or a blend with half cornmeal for a bit more crispiness)
  • 1 cup Milk (Any kind)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • Lots of heat-tolerant oil for frying (Our favourite is cold-pressed coconut oil)
  • 1 cup Freshly washed and picked dandelion flower heads (If you pick them and store them in the fridge the flowers will close up. Also, my first attempt was a bit bitter. If you’re new to wild crafting take time to remove the bracts [the little downward leaf-looking things at the base of the flower head, where it joins the stem]. My boys are fine with them, but we found that the fritters are tastier without)
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together, except for the dandelion heads, including flavour option add-in (see below)
  2. Dip the dandelions
  3. Fry in hot oil, flower side down (be careful!)
  4. Flip and fry some more
  5. Drain on a towel and serve hot
Notes
Flavour add-ins:


Savory: (salt, 1 tsp herb blend such as Italian, rosemary, or a masala mix. Dipping sauce if you like such as sweet chili or guacamole)

Sweet: (2 tbsp sugar/honey, 1 tsp vanilla, ½ tsp cinnamon. Granulated sugar to roll hot fritters in).

I’d LOVE to hear if you try these out! What other flavor combinations could you try? What about serving them with a side salad of fresh baby dandelion leaves? Finish the meal with dandelion tea or wine? The opportunities are endless!

Have you ever used dandelions for medicinal or food purposes?

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Comments

  1. Toni says

    My mom makes dandelion jams and jellies every year, they are such a sweet treat to add to toast or pancakes!! She also makes a few batches of violet-dandelion jam and/or jelly, not my favorite, but still very good!

  2. Erin says

    My parents made dandelion wine and my grandmother would make dandelion salads (when the buds were not fully opened yet) with a red wine vinaigrette that was delicious!

  3. Dawn Fowler says

    I actually made these last year, we have a ton of dandelions in the spring/summer. Gonna do lots more with them this year….

  4. Alicia says

    Well this just brings back childhood memories of dandelion fritters and dandelion wine. I feel like a good picnic right now. Thanks for this beautiful post.

    • says

      Okay, I made them for lunch and they will definitely be added as a regular part of our menu! I used half white rice flour and half corn meal with fresh chives and salt. They were delicious with our tomato soup!

      • says

        Oh, I’m so glad you liked them Marissa! Yay! How fun!
        I was honestly surprised by how tasty and fun they were! I think I’ll make them with my niece and nephews tomorrow. It’s just so ‘novel’ while still being healthy :)

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