Spring Treat: Fried Dandelion Blossoms

dandelion flower recipe,
Start a new spring tradition. (image: morguefile)

Harvesting bright yellow dandelions from the yard is a spring tradition in my family. That’s because we eat them. (Yes, I’m the weird mom on the block.)

Of course, kids need to understand that they can’t consume any plant without a parent’s express permission. But if you choose to indulge in a family blossom fest, you’ll provide your kids with more than fun. It’s also an opportunity to learn to see nature as our ancestors did. Here’s how we do it.

Flower Power Recipe

Gather dandelion flowers from areas free of chemical treatments or fertilizer. Pick in a sunny part of the day so the flowers are fully open, then prepare right away so the flowers don’t close.

Cut away each stem, as this is bitter, leaving only the green part that holds the flower together.

Douse them briefly in saltwater (to flush out any lurking bugs), then dry flowers on dish towels or paper towels while you prepare the batter.

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 cups dandelion flowers, prepared as above
  • 1 cup milk (dairy, soy, almond, coconut, any variety)
  • 1 egg (or equivalent egg replacer product)
  • 1 cup flour, this works with gluten-free flour and chickpea flour (you may need to add more liquid, batter should be thin as crepe batter)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • oil (frying is best with healthful oils that don’t break down at high temperatures; try rice bran oil, coconut oil, or safflower oil)

Method

1. Combine milk, egg, flour, and salt in a wide bowl. Mix well. Heat about two inches of oil in a skillet (350-375 degrees).

2. Drop a dozen or so blossoms into the batter and stir gently to coat. Lift out each blossom separately with a slotted spoon or fork and let it drip briefly over the bowl before placing in the oil. It’s easiest to hold the bowl over the skillet as you drop the blossom into the hot oil. Add a few at a time so the oil stays hot.

3. It should take a minute or two for the flowers to puff slightly and turn golden. Turn flowers over to brown on both sides. Remove with a slotted spatula to drain on paper towels. Continue to fry remaining flowers using the same steps.

4. Season with a good shake of salt and pepper. You can also add seasoning such as garlic salt or chili powder. Alternately, you might prefer to dust them with confectioners sugar and cinnamon. Eat them while they’re warm for a crispy, flavorful, and unusual treat!

*Making flower fritters is a speedier method than frying individual flowers. Simply drop flowers and batter into the oil by the spoonful, then turn like a pancake. Serve with jam, maple syrup, or honey. Or try savory toppings like mustard, ketchup, or barbecue sauce. These fritters are endlessly adaptable. Try adding sunflower or sesame seeds to the batter before frying.

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Laura is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending and Free Range Learning, a handbook of natural learning. She lives on a small farm notable only for its lovestruck goose.