Welcome to day twenty one of my 30 Days of Ayurveda series! Throughout these blogs and videos, I will be sharing some upbeat thoughts and wellness tips, as well as some Ayurvedic tricks and food recommendations to help you lead a balanced life.
Each and every season brings with it its own bountiful supply of free food. At the moment, during the spring and summer we are blessed with dandelions. They are literally everywhere!
If you don’t have your own garden, and you feel inspired to go out to pick some, make sure they are not from a roadside or any area where dogs regularly foul. Once you have finished foraging, thoroughly wash your dandelions to ensure they are free of herbicides and pesticides, then store them in the fridge or in a lightly dampened towel to keep them fresh.
The reason I’m so excited about the dandelions is because of their taste.
We classify dandelions as being very bitter, or tikta as we call it in Ayurveda. This bitter taste is really supportive for the digestive system. Therefore, dandelions are really good to have at the beginning of a meal; they support the liver, the gallbladder, and the pancreas, and really get the digestive system flowing. They are also rich with vitamins C, A, and K, as well as potassium and powerful antioxidants.
When you are picking dandelions, make sure to look for the young, juicy stems. When they get quite large, dandelions can become really bitter, and for me, they are simply too bitter to enjoy as part of a meal. Instead, they become more like a medicine! The younger, tender stems, however, only have slight bitter taste.
Fresh dandelion leaves are delicious in a salad. They can also be cooked; chop them, steam lightly with mint for easy digestion, and eat them like you would greens. Try adding them to my mid-summer soup recipe. You can also submerge the dandelion leaves in hot water for a deliciously bitter tea! If you cannot find your own dandelions then this tea from Clipper can be purchased instead.
This bitter taste can be quite hard to find nowadays.
A lot of our vegetables have been deliberately grown to remove these bitter principles. However, a little bit of bitterness is good for us. It promotes bile secretion, and can also help prevent cancer through high isothiocyantes (one of the bitter tasting principles).
You can also recognize dandelions by their beautiful flower heads, which can be used in the kitchen too. You can remove and freeze the petals to add to muffins, pancakes, cookies, or any other baked item that you desire. They also make beautiful plate decorations!
Over the next 30 days, I will be sharing even more tips and tricks to help you build some great Ayurvedic routines. Hopefully, they will soon be imbedded in your life and you can progress with them. Be sure to let me know how you’re getting on, and why not share where you forage your dandelions? Find me on Instagram @anneheigham and on YouTube.