Back to Nature with Wild Greens

June 18, 2010 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

Young Dandelion

There’s something about a traditional monoculture lawn that seems really dead to me. I love the vibrance and delight to be found in landscaping that works with nature instead of against it. You never know what is going to pop up!

My husband and I let much our yard go wild and are rewarded with myriad herbs, salad greens, flowers and unique grasses of varying types. In the areas of our yard that have regular grass the wild herbs, flowers and native grasses have quickly asserted themselves and the result is a lovely emerald collage of varying textures and hues.

Despite its reputation as a troublesome weed, Dandelion has always been one of my favorite plants. I am cheered by its sunny blossoms and tenacious spirit and I respect its multiple medicinal properties. I love that “weeding” my vegetable, berry and flower beds means I can harvest a basket of dandelion greens for a salad, to blend into a smoothie or even lightly braise with garlic.

Living harmoniously with nature was woven into the fabric of my life from the beginning. My fondest childhood memories involve camping trips, day

Rice with Sauteed Dandelion Greens

hikes, park visits and long summer days outside. As children we are so readily present with nature, there is no separation between our own earthiness and that of the earth itself. The world is an open invitation and we want to immerse ourselves in every texture, scent, and taste we can get our hands on.

This presence and connection with nature doesn’t have to recede as we get older or as our culture becomes more technological. We are not separate from the wilderness and collecting our own wild greens is a wonderful way to remember this. I love that nature provides us with plants like the dandelion, whose leaves, roots and flowers are both healthy food and medicine. Dandelion is rich in iron and potassium as well as vitamins A, B, C and E and is used medicinally a diuretic, a laxative and a daily liver tonic.

There are many dandelion look-alikes but identifying and harvesting true dandelion is quite simple:

  1. Be sure to harvest from a pesticide free area. While public parks may be a great place to find wild greens, be sure to check on their landscaping practices.
  2. True dandelion has smoothly textured leaves – forget those tougher furry look-alikes.
  3. True dandelion leaves grow from the root not off of a stem.
  4. Cut young dandelion leaves ideally before the yellow flowers have opened, or when the young blossoms are still fresh – they are sweet, sunny and delicious tossed into a salad. Leaves from dandelions that have gone to seed (those airy puffballs so good for making wishes!) will be tougher and more bitter.
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3 Comments to “Back to Nature with Wild Greens”

  1. Lovely writing. I had never sought out dandelions as a green to eat, but I am on the search for an authentic dandelion leaf to braise with garlic and try a tender baby bud. Namaste

    • Thank you for your comment! Enjoy your greens. xoxo

    • So instead of paying $2.99 for them at the store, we can walk outside our door and pick them from the front lawn. Although I’ve tried this a couple of times, they never look quite as beautiful as they do in the store. Next – intentionally planting them in containers. And after that, Goji berries! Matsya has a source!


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