Pulling some dandelions in our of our raised vegetable garden beds this weekend, I was able to pull some of the dandelion greens out whole, with their taproot. wow. The raised beds have great garden soil in them, and they weed easily; with little work the long taproot came out with the dandelion plant. Dandelions can be persistent if one does not get out the taproot, they will grow back if you just snap off the greens; which can be a good thing if you are growing dandelion for food, no need to reseed, just snap off the top.
These dandelion greens were in the wrong place in our garden, so I pulled them for salad. They were in what was our tomato bed last year, peeking out from the side of the black plastic I use as a mulch and thermal blanket to keep weeds down, heat up the soil in the early spring, and conserve moisture in the soil.
Dandelion Greens are super healthy for you, they are high in Vitamin A, C, & K. They taste great in salads, soups, and whatever else you would toss a hardy green leafy vegetable into. The greens can be bitter, and sometimes people blanch them to get rid of some of that bitterness.
All parts of the dandelion plant are edible, most people think of dandelion greens, and dandelion wine, but what about the taproot?
The dandelion taproot can be used to make a coffee alternative, much like burdock root is used to do the same. The taproot is also used to make a British drink called Dandelion and Burdock, and is used in making root beet. Perhaps this is where the 'root' part of root beer comes from.
I've got burdock growing the the yard near the woodshed, this year I'll look into making this english drink.
We've made a few videos about dandelion greens and how to cook with dandelion with these recipes:
Here is a good book on foraging to get you started;