Melting snows predict the end of winter, but only the appearance of the first spring greens finally confirms it. Dandelion greens are among the first that Yankees swear by, come spring. If you want to cook dandelion greens, the lawn may be the last resort for harvesting. Hunt instead in the fallow garden or along the fencelines….
Instructions for Cooking Dandelion Greens
“Wash in three cold-water baths and as many lukewarm rinses. Pause long enough while dunking the greens to let the dirt settle to the bottom of the pan before you lift them out. To avoid serving a limp mess of greens and to cook them so as to retain their shape, taste, color, and nutrition, prepare them by cooking only in the water that clings to their leaves [after washing]. Scatter salt among the leaves as you put them in the pot, cover, and apply low heat to slowly wilt them down.
“When they’ve been reduced by half their bulk, add a chopped, sautéed garlic clove and about three tablespoons of the oil in which you’ve browned it. Stir gingerly to keep the shapes of the leaves, and continue cooking until they’re wilted to the bottom of the pan. Salt to taste and serve.”
Editors Note: Dandelion greens must be eaten when they’re very young, otherwise they get bitter. By the time they flower, they’re too old.