Wild Arkansas

December 13, 2008

A Bitter Dande to Swallow

Filed under: dandelion, Edible plants, herbs — Tags: , , — WildArkansas @ 2:41 pm


Dandelion has been at the top of my list for a long time as one of the best healing herbs available. However, no matter what I did with the dande, I could not mask the bitterness to make it more palatable.

Yesterday I gave it another try and dug some root from the side of the house.

Everything I’ve read has said to dig the root during the fall and I have, with disappointing results. I’ve boiled, baked and roasted the dande. I’ve tried juicing it with lemon and putting it in salads. No matter what method of cooking or ingredients used I’ve had the same result—a terrible tasting dish or juice with that ever-present bitterness of dande coming through.

Though it’s probably one of the most widely distributed herbs, I suspect it’s also probably one of the least used, simply because of the awful taste.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve avoided the dande for the past few months.

In August I started experimenting with Taraxacum and wrote a short article about it. I avoided admitting then that the dandelion was one of the worst tasting bitters I’ve had to deal with. Yes it was healing, and a healthy addition to any dish, but…

It was a bitter dande to swallow.

Perhaps the full moon would have a beneficial effect. I remembered reading something about gypsies digging herbs during a full moon for potency and effect and after reading about the moon in its apogee, I had to try.

I dug, cleaned and sliced it and before placing it in the oven for roasting decided to try a bite. What a difference! I had to check the leaves again to make sure it was dandelion.

I found out later, by another forager that sugars bound together in the cells of the dandelion are broken and released by freezing and thawing. The fructose is released and moves through the root. This process also breaks down the cell walls so the root becomes tender.

After roasting I tried a bit added to my coffee and found it as a sweet and pleasant addition.

The root will also become a regular winter vegetable for me. I can enjoy the benefits without the bitterness.

There are some great dandelion recipes at Steve Brill’s website and dandelion fritters at Learningherbs.com

Bon apetit!



  1. I’, a little confused.

    I didn’t really get from the article what removed the bitterness. You suggested that the chance occurred as a result of freezing and thawing. What does this have to do with the full moon?

    Comment by Chris — October 22, 2009 @ 1:49 pm

  2. Hi Chris. Maybe you did not read the full article. You may want to go back and Re-read it.

    Comment by maturehealth — October 22, 2009 @ 6:54 pm

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