Dandelion flowers make a delicious wine and the vitamin rich, slightly bitter young leaves are used in cooking and the roots are used to make herbal ‘coffee’. Dandelion is a perennial with a thick, fleshy, deep taproot and a rosette of coarsely toothed leaves. From the leaves emerge many unbranched flower stalks, each terminating in a double golden yellow flower. The flowers are followed by spherical balls of seed which are dispersed by the wind.
Dandelion will thrive if you dig the soil deeply and enrich it with rotted compost. It requires a sunny situation and prefers a neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Sow the seed directly into the soil in spring. The plants die down in winter. Cut spent flowers to prevent re-seeding.
Blanch the leaves for culinary purposes by covering them from the light for 2 to 3 weeks before harvesting in late spring, and before flowering occurs. Lift the roots at the end of the second season. Both leaves and roots can be dried for herbal use.
The variety ‘thick leaved’ has leaves that can be used fresh in salads or cooked like spinach. Make a fizzy soft drink from fermented dandelion root.
Dandelion acts as a diuretic!
information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs