Eating your enemy - The sweetest revenge
But back to gardening. I did a public talk about Rhubarb last summer and recently repeated it for the Horticultural Society, which was fun. The lecture addressed the whole of the plant, the leaves, the stalks and the root and what to do with it. Some of that turned into blog posts last summer. When I was asked for some short articles for a newspaper insert, I thought I would do the same for the bitter enemy of many gardeners, the dandelion, Taraxacum officinale. Isn't the thought of digging up your enemy and then eating it, just the sweetest of all?
The plant is a medicinal plant and has many benefits. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. The root has traditionally been used to treat liver problems, the greens are diuretic and the flowers have antioxidant properties. All parts are edible, the leaves often used in salads, the root as a coffee substitute and the flowers for wine, textile dye or dandelion honey.
Dandelion leaves have the mildest taste before they flower. After flowering their taste is more bitter. I used greens from a plant that hadn't flowered for this recipe, that is the perfect taste for a pesto. This recipe is rather small, but can easily be multiplied for a bigger quantity because it can be a bit small for large equipment. I used the leaves of one large dandelion that I just dug up from my garden.
60 grams / 2 oz dandelion greens
1/4 cup Olive oil
1 clove of Garlic
1 tbsp lightly roasted Almonds (could also be hazelnuts or pine nuts)
1/2 tsp salt
10 grams / 0.4 oz Parmesan cheese
The process is easy. Put the dandelion greens and olive oil into a food processor/blender and whiz together. Add the garlic, almonds and Parmesan cheese. Blend until it is smooth. Add salt to taste and use more olive oil if needed to get the desired consistency. Put in a jar and pour olive oil on top so it covers the pesto. Use the same way as you would regular pesto.