The word dandelion describes the diuretic virtues of the plant (literality piss in bed- Pissenlit) whereas the Anglo-Saxons call it “dandelion” (Lion’s teeth) which describes the leaf of the plant. She is also called Laiteron or dog’s lettuce.
Cramaillotte is the name of the jam also called dandelion honey for its texture and golden color. This jam made from the flowers of dandelions is very time-consuming collecting just the flowers but goes so well with a soft fresh goat’s cheese. We have a feeling that we eat and smell spring pastures at the same time.
And there is also the grilled or dried root which can be an alternative to coffee and if it is fresh in decoction. It is even used to color cottons!
A bit of advice though… it is better to harvest them at the beginning spring when the shoots are young so the bitterness is not as pronounced, flowers in buttons have a taste of hazelnuts but you need lots of patience collecting them to make a salad or an omelet …
In France, we eat it with hot fried bacon, vinaigrette, comté and croutons. I had never thought of eating the heart of the dandelion and to cook it because I generally use the leaves! I sat at the table in front of my teacher, Jean Paul, who gave me a course in peeling and preparing. You must remove all the green leaves and trim around the root. With the heavy spring rains, the roots were very full of mud and this is where you have to be meticulous, wash and rinse more than once if you do not want to have a “gritty” crunch under your teeth!
You put the dandelion’s hearts in some salt water so that insects get out … I add a little lemon juice to prevent oxidation of the white root. We ate them raw with a balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing, a perfect match with the bitter taste of the plant.
As any green plants, the dandelion can be also accommodated in soups, as a vegetable to complement a meat or in the burger for a change. Try them with soft-boiled eggs, it is really very good.
Now all you have to do is to put your rubber boots, select a big basket, a knife or a small garden shovel and ” go out for dandelions as we go out mushrooming”. A big breath of fresh air and an invigorating walk in meadows, an ideal remedy to get over the winter doldrums!!! And this vegetable does not keep well so you will need to return often to collect them….
My recipe for Dandelion’s jam (Cramaillotte)
1 kg of dandelion flowers, well washed and drained
800 gr of sugar
3 whole organic oranges and 2 whole organic lemons
1 full teaspoon of agar-agar
Cover the dandelions flowers with water, add citrus fruits cut roughly with the skin left on. Boil and then let the mixture soak during 48 hours. Strain to obtain the juice and measure the obtained juice. For a liter of juice you add 800 g of sugar. Cook your jam and add at the end of cooking the agar agar, making sure that the jam boils for a few minutes as the agar agar has to be well diluted. Put into jars.