What to learn how to harvest fresh dandelions? Here's the "how to"...
The wise one's have long since revered the Dandelion as a great herbal remedy for many ailments and sometimes just to bring in a new flavor to that dinner dish. These practices of using dandelions has died out a lot in the past 100 years or so, but out of no where it is starting to be at the forefront of everyone's mind.
What are these flowers really? Everyone just calls them "weeds", but there are so many of them, how can they not have a purpose?
With that being said, if you are one of those people and you are curious about how to harvest dandelions for your tea, cream or salad topping, here are some easy steps you can take to get the most from your most common garden weed.
STEP 1: Get a trowel, small shovel or hand sized raking tool. This is to help you dig out any particularly strong dandi's.
STEP 2: Gloves. If you don't like your hands getting dirty, wear gloves.
STEP 3: Hunt down your patch of dandelions. If you can, try to find the flowers that are not surrounded by a bunch of tall grass, as they are easier to uproot at first.
STEP 4: Use your trowel or raking tool to dig around the the dirt at the base of the dandelion. You'll want to lift the lower leaves if they are fairly large, so that you can get at the base of it. Use your tool to gentle loosen up the dirt on the underside of the dandelion so that the roots start to free up.
STEP 5: Wrap your hand around the base of the dandelion, with the larger lower leaves nicely in your hand. Make sure you have the whole lower part of the plant in your hand.
STEP 6: Gently pull UP. If you have to give it much force, you might loose the roots or pull the lower leaves off. If this doesn't matter to you, then by all means, just tear them out. But if you'd like to utilize the leaves or roots, they are much more beneficial to you when they are intact. If the roots seem stubborn, use your digging tool to help loosen them up some more while you gently continue to pull them out of the ground.
STEP 7: Knock as much of the dirt off of the roots as you can, without damaging to many roots. Then use water to get the rest of the stuck on dirt, off.
STEP 8: Wash. Make sure to get off any lingering bugs or stuck on dirt, as well as anything that is not the plant itself.
STEP 9: Place them in a basket, bucket or container of some sort where you can go through them later, as you continue to collect more dandelions
STEP 10: When you are done collecting for the day, take the dandelions and separate all the various parts. The leaves, the stalks, the flowers, the roots, etc...
Congratulations, you have now learned how to properly harvest a dandelion for use in various occasions. =)
WARNING: BUGS INVOLVED
Not everyone has the insectoid critters in their dirt, but most often this is the home of the bugs; in the dirt. So make sure you are aware of that and try not to kill them or disturb more of the ground then you have too. This will make every ones lives easier.