Dandelion Leaves - Bitter and good for you

The Chelsea Chop

17 June 2016:

The Chelsea Chop is normally reserved for flowers when gardeners want to delay flowering, but I’m going to give my mint a short back and sides. Although it’s growing well and looks fine it is supporting a white/green/black fly, too small for me to identify but quite obvious when I make mint tea as they can be seen floating on the surface. I’m going to cut it to the ground which will remove the offending creatures and the new shoots will only take a couple of weeks to grow and will hopefully be free from pests.

My next project is to plant a dandelion. They may be growing everywhere at the allotment but I want to keep a couple so that I can use their leaves. They are full of vitamins such as A and C and have a massive amount of vitamin K. They have a slightly bitter taste (similar to chicory) and can be used sparingly in salads, cups of herb tea, or gently sautéed in oil with garlic and lemon. Bitter foods are really good for us (see my Food For Thought blog) and I’m trying to include more of them in our meals. Dandelions are also a diuretic so don’t be surprised if you start going to the loo more when you include them!

In our back garden in our tiny plot, my husband planted little rows of spinach and chard in order to transplant them up at the allotment when they were big enough. However there were lots left and I’ve been using them in salads. Because I’m continually taking leaves off there are little new ones continually coming through, and they don’t get chance to grow too big. From now on I’m going to include these two in my salad planting regime as they make a lovely addition to salads.