At my book launch party, I served a dandelion tea that many guests thought was a regular sweetened iced tea. They were shocked to discover it had no sweetener in it, at all! It was made from dandelion tea, crushed cranberries and lemon, all of which are more on the bitter side but somehow mixed together have a very pleasing taste.
Often called the wonder beverage because it is a century old remedy for many conditions, dandelion tea is a rich source of vitamins A, K and calcium. It is good for bone health, joints, blood pressure, brain function and a healthy metabolism. Dandelions are rich in C, potassium, folic acid and magnesium. Dandelion is best known for its detox function. It is the “go to” remedy for improving liver and kidney function and combats fatty liver disease and other symptoms of metabolic syndrome. It keeps our blood sugar levels regular and our metabolism working by producing insulin. Dandelion is a natural diuretic and assists in the removal of toxins from the body. It is a bitter herb that stimulates digestion and elimination. If you suffer from constipation, try dandelion as it is extremely high in fiber.
The dandelion roots, leaves, stems and flowers are all edible and super rich in nutrients. The sap inside of the stem is highly alkaline. It is a germicide, insecticide, an analgesic and has fungal properties. If you suffer from itching, eczema, psoriasis or other skin irritation, try a little dandelion sap mixed in a carrier oil and apply topically. As the sap is high in antioxidants, it prevents cellular deterioration. Perhaps, this will be the next big anti-aging remedy!
Dandelion is one of those all around amazing superfoods (more nutritious than spinach or kale) that works on so many levels to heal the body and restore the immune systems and yet we think of it as a burdensome weed that needs to be destroyed. It is time to rethink the dandelion and dandelion tea is a great place to start.
Important Note: Do NOT eat dandelions from a yard that has been sprayed with chemicals. Also, the leaves, themselves, should be eaten in moderation as they contain oxalates (as does spinach) which can cause kidney stones. Every part of the plant is edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. The flowers are sweet and crunchy. You can find dandelion in grocery stores, natural health markets and farmers markets. I like Traditional Medicines Herbal Teas as they are organic, non-GMO and reasonably priced.
I love this time of year! It’s the beginning of summer-like weather. It is warm out but not too hot and cool enough to sleep comfortably at night without turning the air conditioning on. I also love all the summer fruits that pop up in the garden and at the market. I love that more local fruit and vegetables are available like strawberries and rhubarb. I find myself entertaining more this time of year and that means making a dessert that’s not loaded with white sugar and flour. My “go to” is always a crisp made with a variety of fruits and a topping made with oats, and nuts. Anything goes in terms of fruit and fruit combinations. I love combinations of berries and stone fruits
like peaches, pears and apples. Rhubarb is a favorite. I often use organic frozen fruit when something I crave isn’t in season or too expensive, but defrost and drain before cooking. Many options for sweeteners are available but if your fruit is sweet I don’t feel you need to add sweetener to the actual fruit base.. Get used to tasting the actual flavor of the fruit. Try stevia, monk fruit, coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup if you need it.
Here’s my favorite recipe:
5 to 6 cups of fruit – rhubarb, berries, peeled and chopped apples, etc.
1/3 cup gluten free flour
1/3 to 1 cup gluten free oats
¼ to 1/3 cup coconut sugar, or your favorite sweetener
½ cup pecans
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ to ½ cup butter
Place fruit in an 8 x 8 or 9 by 11 baking pan. In a medium sized bowl mix the remaining ingredients until it resembles a course meal using a fork or pastry blender. Place evenly over the fruit. Bake at 350 degrees for
45 minutes until fruit is bubbly and top is slightly browned.
If you are looking for a grain free option for the topping try:
Grain Free Crisp
5 cups fruit (cut into bite size pieces)
½ cup dates
½ cup nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.)
½ cup coconut flakes
1 cup almond flour
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. coconut oil or butter
¼ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Place fruit in a greased 9 x 11 baking dish. Place remaining ingredients in food processor or blender and process until nuts are ground. Place on top of fruit. Bake in 350° oven for 30 to 45 minutes until fruit is bubbly and topping cooked.
Susanne Jakubowski is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher, Thai Yoga Therapist, and cancer survivor.