Dandelion

Edible Flowers #4 – Weed Flowers (Dandelion, Daisy, Clover)

I can certainly go on and on about the nutritional and medical virtues of some plants commonly seen as pesky weeds – but that’s a different story for a different day – today though, it is these same weeds whose flowers we are going to have a look at for the fourth installment in our Edible Flower series.

Although there are many other edible weeds with edible flowers, we’ll be concentrating on the following three common ones – Dandelion, Lawn Daisy and Clover.

Dandelion

Dandelion Flower 2Taraxacum officinale certainly is a wonder weed – so healthful and nutritious, with the roots, leaves and flower heads full of vitamins and minerals. It is often said that if it was not such an abundant and invasive plant, it would have been a great sought-after commodity.

The Dandelion’s botanical name is from the French dent de lion, or “lion’s tooth” although it is not clear if this refers to the dented leaves, the long taproot or the multitude of fine petals on the flower head. This perennial and hardy weed is commonly found growing as a weed in lawns, pastures on the roadside and in fields.

5-30cm height, 15cm spread
Any soil in an open sunny position
Grown from seed or root cuttings

Use as an edible flower

Not as bitter as the greens of the Dandelion, the slightly sweet honey-like taste of young dandelion flowers, are great combined with the green leaves in a salad. Traditionally the flowers are made into a wine and are also suited to brewing teas and for use in baking. The unopened flower buds can be pickled.

Recipes

Lawn Daisy

Bellis perennis dsc00906.jpg

The common daisy, also known as lawn daisy or English daisy, Bellis perennis, is an invasive perennial weed, but like the Dandelion, is full of health-giving vitamins and minerals. The Latin name means Everlasting Beauty – Bellis “pretty” and perennis “everlasting”, while Daisy comes from “Day’s Eye” as the flower opens at dawn and closes at dusk.

20cm height and spread 
Any soil, moist and well-draining
Sunny to semi-shaded
Grown from seed or division

Use as an edible flower

The flower buds and petals can be brewed into a vitamin rich tea or added raw to salads and sandwiches and soups. They make a beautiful garnish and can also be floated in cordials.

Recipes

  • Daisy Soup
    Simply add handfuls of daisy flowers and greens to fried onions and leeks, top with stock and cook for a few minutes. Best served liquefied with fresh daisy flowers sprinkled on top for garnish.

 

Red clover closeupWhite clover (Trifolium repens) 001Clover

There are many varieties of clover, all edible – Trifolium repens is a common wild white clover and Trifolium pratense is the wild red clover, both are hardy perennials. As with the dandelion and daisy, clover flowers are packed with vitamins and minerals, making them not only pretty and tasty addition to your plate, but a very healthy one too.

 

Height of 40cm, large spreading mass
Any soil, rich and free draining
Grown from seed after scarifying

Use as an edible flower

The flowers or clovers are not only food for bees (and livestock), they are excellent for humans too – in green salads, fruit salads, added to sandwhiches, and even scattered over vegetable dishes. Use shortly after picked, and remove all green parts first.

Recipes

  • Mediterranean vegetables with Red Clover Flowers
    Roast a selection of zucchini, bell peppers and aubergine in a bit of olive oil, season with salt, pepper and garlic and sprinkle with Red Clover Flowers before serving.

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