May 17, 2017

Dandelion Pesto - Because Dandelions are more than just a weed!

Most people would see Dandelions as weeds, but trust me if I tell you they are not just full of yumminess but also have many health advantages.

Dandelion Pesto - Because Dandelions are more than just a weed!

Dandelions are not just a rich source of the vitamins A, B complex, C & D. They also contain minerals like iron, potassium or zinc. In herbal medicine is often used for liver and kidney disease, skin problems or even as part of a cough medicine.  As a kid I never knew their real name I only knew them under the not very nice name "piss a beds". Today, when I looked a little closer into the medicinal properties the connection struck me for the first time, because our ancestors gave them this not so polite name, because Dandelions are a very potent diuretic, which in lay man words means they make your kidneys produce a lot of urine, hence young kids with less bladder control might wet their bed during the night.

Apart from adding a few leaves into our salads I make dandelion syrup every spring and dandelion pesto every couple of weeks. I am working on a post for the syrup, but today I want to share the dandelion pesto recipe with you.

You start by grinding 80 grams parmesan cheese and put aside.
Roast 60 grams pine kernels in a pan with no oil.
roasting pine kernels for dandelion pesto
put ground cheese, roasted pine kernels into your food processor bowl and add
80 grams young dandelion leaves (the older the more bitter),
dandelion, ready to be harvested for dandelion pesto and dandelion syrup

freshly picked dandelion leaves for dandelion pesto

chopping dandelion leaves for dandelion pesto

1 tablespoon honey or dandelion syrup (more if leaves of dandelions are a bit older hence more bitter)
150 grams olive oil good quality!
1/2 tsp salt
some pepper (preferred red but black will do if not at hand)
zest of half a lemon
zesting a lemon for dandelion pesto

1-2 cloves of garlic.

Pulse in food processor until you have reached pesto consistency. Taste and maybe add more honey/dandelion syrup if it is too bitter for your taste. But give the bitterness a chance before you sweeten it away! You know why? Our tongue has taste buds for sweet, for salty, for sour and for bitter? While the first ones get used regularly the bitter ones don't get used much at all in our day and age. But we should get back into the habit of using them! If you are one of those that hasn't used their bitter tasting taste buds in a while, you might dislike the first try, taste again, it will grow on you and eventually you will get addicted to a certain extend! Serve with pasta, on a sandwich or on a burger or  on fried potatoes with melted feta cheese or any other use you can think of!

dandelion pesto

The Dandelion Pesto will keep in the fridge just make sure it is always covered with a layer of olive oil. The longest I have kept it without going off was 3 weeks, but I only used clean cutlery and storage container! It might have lasted longer, I can't say. It simply was empty at this stage not gone off!
One little side note: When foraging for your dandelion leaves, please be aware of where you pick them. You don't want to pick them along the most popular doggy walk lane and if you pick them outside of your garden be aware of Echinococcus multilocularis if this is a problem in your area! As you don't heat pesto up enough to kill these larvaes.

But don´t be put off by this. Just watch were you forage and stay safe! And this is not just for Dandelions, I mean in general!

And with this I bid you good bye for today and hope you enjoy the dandelion pesto as much as I do!