They may not be the easiest green to cook with, but when done right, dandelion greens have a lovely bitter flavor that complements dishes that range from creamy, tangy, salty, and sweet. Especially tasty in salads, their unique and aggressive flavor is easily enhanced by a strong vinaigrette.

Here’s how to get the best out of these tender greens, with tips on how to buy, store and use them in your food:

Buying: Look carefully to see whether the greens have firm leaves and thin stems. Make sure to avoid any that are yellow, limp, or wilted leaves and overly large or very woody stems.

Storing: Rinse the leaves in cool water, then dry them thoroughly, and once that’s done, store them in an open plastic bag. Wrap them loosely in a slightly damp paper towel to make them last for a few days in the refrigerator. To avoid completely freezing the leaves, see that the temperature is not too cold. And if you want to make sure you don’t get icy tips, feel free to place them in the crisper.

Cooking: Dandelion greens make great side dishes that you can serve alongside mains. You could try steaming them lightly to go with herbed trout fillets, but they taste best in salads. Add them to any green salad you’ve prepared, or make them the main star attraction by fashioning this dandelion salad with garlic dressing. Lesser used parts of these greens are the flowers, which you can use to make dandelion honey and the roots, which taste great when you prepare dandelion root coffee. Both roots and leaves together make for a lovely, mild and healing tea that works wonders when you’re feeling bloated or lethargic.

Head to our Food section for healthy recipes and the latest food trends.
Quick and easy Nutrition tips here.

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Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.