The topic today is dandelion. Yes, the little yellow flowers that your kids pick for you in the spring if you’re lucky enough to have a yard, dandelion. But not the flowers, the leaves.
I’m writing about them not because I cook or eat them very often. It’s because they are part of the husband’s Pennsylvania Dutch heritage – wilted greens- and because he loves to tell everyone about their French name (story #47 of his). This plant is really kind of marvelous in it’s medicinal properties and was actually listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia as a diuretic until 1926. It’s been a part of folk medicine in many eastern countries. Nutrient-wise, it’s one of the top four of all green vegetables, and in the top 50 of power herbs. Who would have guessed?
I am so impressed by everything this plant contains, and by it’s ability to survive almost anywhere. My theory is that God made this plant with lots of what we need and put it where we could find it easily because we might need it someday. All parts of it can be eaten. The root is being studied because of its cancer fighting properties. I could go on, because reading about it makes you want to go out and get some NOW, but look at this:
1 serving provides this amount of RDA (recommended daily allowance)
9% dietary fiber
19% of vitamin B-6
20% of riboflavin
58% of vitamin C
338% of vitamin A
649% of vitamin K
39% of iron
19% of calcium
and a lot of antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin
And since I did find some in the grocery store this week, we are going to eat wilted dandelion salad tonight. I will cook up some beef bacon to flavor the greens, wilt them and serve over potatoes.
Okay, I won’t go into all of story #47 but the word dandelion comes from “dente de lion” or tooth of the lion which is the pointy shape of the leaves. And “pissenlit” is French for wetting the bed, and that could happen if you eat too much dandelion. Just sayin’…
I am a big supporter of FOOD. I think it is absolutely remarkable that everything we humans need to live and be in health is found on this planet. It’s almost like it was made for us. In fact, it is exactly like it was made for us. I have never been a food blogger but I have done a stint teaching nutrition for the University of Florida Extension Service. I learned a lot and it was fun. I think I can share some of the fun and interesting things about some of my favorite foods – one each day during this A to Z Challenge. All these foods have some kind of health advantage and most of them are nutrient dense and very good for you. Today, it’s celery.
.It wasn’t until I started noticing my blood pressure rising that I got serious about eating celery. Before that it was chopped up in soup once in a while or on the veggie tray with other stuff and dip, of course. Now I buy several bunches at a time and always have it cleaned and conveniently ready. It contains a chemical called 3-n-butyl phthalide (you won’t remember this but when it has a name it’s more real, right?) which smooths the muscles in blood vessels, creating better blood flow and a lower pressure. Studies have shown this to be true. My own experience is that it lowers my systolic pressure about 10 points (but this is not a guarantee for everyone). About a cup of chopped celery a day should give results. (http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/foods-that-lower-blood-pressure/)
It’s cool, crunchy, wet and a very pleasant color when it’s fresh (please don’t let it sit forever in the fridg drawer, please…) And you don’t need to do anything fancy with it – just eat it. It’s quick and ready so keep it simple.
*** Important edit! Please do not forget how important and upgrading peanut butter, raisins, or Ranch dressing can be to celery if you don’t mind the added calories. Thank you readers!