Dandelions are a commonly found plant throughout the world, commonly growing naturally on grassy patches in the same manner and numbers as common garden weeds.
As such, many of us wouldn’t necessarily consider them to be a delicacy – or indeed a useful ingredient for a number of dishes.
However, throughout the world, dandelions are fried and consumed as part of wider meals and dishes. But where does this happen, and what exactly do they taste like?
What Is A Dandelion?
Otherwise known as taraxacum, dandelions are a common species of flowering plants that can be found in numerous places around the world.
They belong to the family Asteraceae and are most notably located in Eurasia and North America.
They are generally a reasonably sized plant, with a short stem and a yellow head, which turns wispy and white when the flower has died.
These white, wispy seeds are then blown and dispersed by the wind and other elements, causing new generations of dandelions to grow again in the spring.
What Are Fried Dandelions?
Fried dandelions are considered a delicacy, and involve picking the largest dandelion plants, pan frying them to make them crispy – similar to stir fry vegetables – or mixing them into stuffing-like recipes for a crispy, complex flavor.
What Do Fried Dandelions Taste Like?
Generally speaking, fried dandelions taste and look like fried vegetable fritters – similar to vegetable pakoras, or bhajis.
They are pleasant tasting, and even sweet to the taste when prepared in specific ways, making them a popular accompaniment to larger banquets and meals in certain parts of the world.
Where Are Fried Dandelions Eaten?
Fried dandelions are consumed in many regions around the world, however the two main locations are Asia and (perhaps surprisingly) North America.
The latter of which takes place in the state of West Virginia, and the surrounding areas, where the dish is commonly cooked as a side dish in traditional southern & Appalachian cooking.
Common dishes featuring fried dandelions include deep fried dandelion blossoms, dandelion fritters, or fried dandelion pancakes.
Are Dandelions Nutritious?
When it comes to dandelions, another fact that people might not be aware of is the host of nutritious benefits that the plant has to offer.
When it comes to their nutritional values, dandelions are high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as being moderate sources of potassium, calcium, iron, and manganese.
The raw dandelion greens are around 86% water, only 9% carbohydrates, 3% protein, and around 1% fat, making them as healthy as any other form of green vegetable like cucumber and celery.
Do Dandelions Have Health Benefits?
Dandelions also have several noted health benefits, and when consumed as part of a balanced diet can have distinct effects on the consumer.
Dandelions contain the antioxidant beta-carotene, which has been shown to help protect the cells from decay and damage. They also contain flavonoids and phenols, both of which are other types of antioxidants.
Dandelions also contain bioactive compounds that have been shown to actively lower levels of cholesterol in the body.
Dandelions might also be able to reduce blood lipids – fat molecules in the blood that can cause the blockages of the arteries, causing things like heart attacks, angina, and strokes.
Regulating Blood Sugar
There have been some preliminary studies done on the effects of dandelions on blood sugar, and the first batch of feedback suggests that there might be a worthwhile relationship between consuming dandelions and lowering blood sugar levels.
This could hold many benefits for people with type 2 diabetes.
Dandelions have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, helping to ease all manner of conditions within the body – including chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia and arthritis.
Lowering Blood Pressure
Dandelion leaves are a good source of potassium, which has been shown to neutralize the salt in the blood, helping to lower blood pressure over time.
Reduced blood pressure can help people to avoid heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and other deadly conditions.
Supporting Weight Loss
Some preliminary research has also been done that suggests there might be a relationship between dandelions and increased weight loss – specifically through the metabolism of carbohydrates.
They are also low in saturated fat, and relatively low in calories, meaning they are also a healthy, low fat source of energy.
Reducing Cancer Risk
While limited, there has been positive research to suggest that there might be a link between dandelions and lowering the risk of cancer.
However, this has so far only been tested in test tubes, and the results only show changes in certain kinds of cancer cells – including colon cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer.
Boosting Immune System
Dandelions also have substantial antiviral and anti-bacterial properties, which are known to lay the foundation for a strong immune system – something that can help prevent the onset of more serious illnesses and conditions down the line.
There is also preliminary evidence to suggest that dandelions might help slow the progression of diseases like hepatitis B.
Aiding Proper Digestion
Dandelion has long been a traditional remedy for constipation, and has been known to aid regularity and proper digestion.
Certain chemicals within the dandelion have been shown to overall encourage and aid gastric emptying, helping to improve gut health, and the general feeling of health in those with such problems.
Aiding Healthy Skin
There has been some research conducted on the efficacy of dandelions in reducing the impact of UV light on skin cells – and so far the evidence has been promising.
Ultraviolet light is one of the leading causes of skin cancer, and other skin conditions, not to mention premature aging.
And who knows, with the introduction of dandelions into the diet, aging could be a thing of the past.
Boosting Liver Health
Dandelions have also been shown to be helpful against liver damage and diseases that specifically attack liver function.
However, the research is still in its infancy, and will require much more investigation before a conclusion on this can be officially decided upon.
Are Dandelions Safe To Eat?
Dandelions are safe to eat, but the important thing is to properly wash and clean them before cooking and eating them.
This is because animals might have urinated on then, people might have trodden on them, and various kinds of pathogens might be present.
Can You Eat Them Raw?
You can also eat dandelions raw, but if you are planning to do this, then proper cleaning becomes even more important.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about fried dandelions, where they are consumed, and what exactly they taste like.
While many of us wouldn’t consider dandelions to be delicacy – namely due to them being commonplace and thought of as weeds – there are many parts of the world where they are regularly eaten and considered good eating, and many of these places might even surprise you.
So if you are looking for a new vegetarian option, then why not try fried dandelions? Something tells me you won’t be disappointed!
What Do Fried Dandelions Taste Like?Course: Taste Like
Ingredients from your favorite recipes
- Wash dandelions under cool running water and dry on paper towels. Remove the green tendrils behind each flower. Set aside.
- Mix together flour, curry powder, and salt in a small bowl or measuring cup. Beat egg in a large bowl; stir in flour mixture until smooth. Pour in beer; mix until batter is similar to runny pancake batter. Add more beer if batter is too thick.
- Heat oil in a small saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). If you don’t have a thermometer, heat oil until it begins to shimmer.
- Working in batches, dip dandelion flowers into batter, then gently drop in hot oil and fry until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer cooked flowers to crumpled paper towels or a wire rack; serve warm.
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