Dandelions are everywhere and most people at least vaguely know how to identify them. The most common look-alike in our area is Cat’s Ear (Hypochaeris radicata), but it is also edible. Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is frequently confused as well, but the flowers are a blue-purple, not yellow, and it is also edible.
Flowers: The common dandelion flowerhead over 100 yellow ray florets and no disk florets; the ray florets spread outward from the center. Inner and outer green bracts are below the flowerhead. Flowers appear during warm spells in the winter in the southeast United States as well as throughout the warm season.
Leaves: Jagged deeply-notched, basal, hairless leaves.
Note: Any batter will work for this, so use what you have, but this recipe is especially tasty.
- 2 Cups Dandelion Buds and Blossoms washed
- 1 1/4 tsp Salt to taste
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flower
- 1 Cup Cornmeal
- 1/4 tsp Pepper or Pepperweed Seeds
- 1/2 tsp Chile Powder
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme or 1 tsp Dried Thyme
- 1 Egg
- 1/4 Cup Milk
- 2 Cups Canola Oil
- Collect dandelion buds and blossoms from a clean location (no pesticides and at least 15 feet from a road!) Pit them in a bowl with several cups of water, lemon juice, and 1 Tbsp salt, dissolved.
- In a bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and chile powder.
- Add thyme, and mix well.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg and milk.
- Pour egg mixture into flour and stir until well combined to form a batter.
- Pour 1 inch of oil into a skillet, cast iron preferred. Heat oil to 375 degrees.
- Gently dip each flower into batter.
- Carefully place in hot oil; do not crowd.
- Fry until golden, about 2 minutes, turn, and fry 1 more minute if necessary.
- Drain on paper towels. Salt lightly.
- Serve hot and enjoy!