Since I listened to the Ologies podcast foraging episode, I’ve searched for edible foliage in my neighborhood, in forests, and on mountains. I didn’t realize that I only needed to look as far as my backyard/the greenbelt next to our house. The ancient Mayans and Incas ate them raw, straight from the ground, mostly as a snack. Dandelions are ridiculously nutritious with vitamin K, vitamins A, C, E, folate, and small amounts of other B vitamins. Also, they are a great source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. I’ve made this recipe a few times now, and my body feels so great after eating them. It is such an easy process, and you can adapt the recipe however you’d like.
Here’s the recipe I’ve developed (original recipe from the Black Forager).
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3/4 cup milk (could be soy, almond, cow’s milk)
- 1/2 cup cornmeal/masa
- One egg (a starch egg can be substituted if you want to make it vegan)
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tbs. maple syrup – this will counteract the bitterness that dandelion flowers can have
- 2 tps. vegetable oil
- Gather dandelion flowers from wherever you can find them, with the exception of dandelions near a busy roadway, and ones that have been sprayed with weed killer (You can detect the sprayed ones by their wilting and unhealthy posture.) Dandelion plants often absorb diesel and gas fumes, and ingesting them can be harmful. Small to medium dandelion heads are best.
- In the Indigenous tradition to honor our plants, don’t forget to thank them when you pluck the bloom. After all, they did a lot of growing to feed us. The Potawatomi tribe and other Indigenous tribes leave sachets of tobacco as formal thanks to the plants.
- Place your flowers in a bowl and leave outside for 30-45 minutes to let any buggies jump ship. Do not leave for longer than 45 minutes as the dandelions will wilt. I experienced this the hard way, and it ruins fritter potential. I ended up composting them. It was sad.
- Gently rinse flowers then spin them in a salad spinner to remove the moisture. This step is one I developed, it wasn’t part of the original recipe. So it’s optional. I just like to make sure they are as clean as possible.
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. The batter should be on the thicker side, thick enough to stick to all parts of the flower.
- Place a pan over medium to medium high heat. Pour the vegetable oil in the pan. If you have an air fryer, you could use that as well. I don’t have one, so I’m not qualified to give tips on it.
- After giving the pan and oil time to heat so they cook evenly and thoroughly, dip a flower into your batter. You will have to dip with your hands as the blooms are so delicate, but I rather like that part. Make sure batter covers the entire flower.
- Quickly drop into the pan and let it cook for about 30 seconds on each side. These little babies cook very quickly, so be prepared to watch them closely and to remove them rapidly. You can use tongs or whatever type of utensil to fish out your fritters from the oil. Now that the batter has hardened, the fritters are not delicate like the raw dandelion florets.
- Place on a sheet with something to absorb the excess oil.
- Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce. I particularly enjoy ranch with the fritters. I haven’t tried putting them in the fridge or the freezer yet because I suspect they would not be as delicious. But cooking is an experiment, so feel free to try!
These have a consistency that reminds me of fried pickles. They are SO crunchy, which you can hear in the video below that I made after my first batch. I’m not sure if you can double or triple the recipe, but if you try, I’d love to know. Great for lunches for one or a smaller crowd. You could even serve them as a side dish. The possibilities are endless. Friends, try these — they are delicious, nutritious, and sustainable!
Have you tried foraging? It brings me so much delight.