foraging urban weeds: dandelions
Dandelions are darlings of the foraging community. They are entirely edible. Apparently, you can use the roots (dried then ground) in a coffee-like tincture. I have also read you can simply prepare/eat dandelion roots the same way you would other root vegetables.
Herbalists use dandelion root to detoxify the liver and gallbladder, and dandelion leaves to support kidney function. Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc.
Dandelion greens can be added to sandwiches, eaten in salads and dried to make tea. Dandelion greens are a bit bitter (younger leaves are less bitter) and many people prefer them cooked---including myself. My absolute favorite way to cook dandelion greens is 'creamed'---think of creamed spinach. With sweet leeks and cream, the bitterness is softened; try sauteed scallops served on creamed dandelion greens.
The stems you can use like straws, which is ironic and whimsical when you serve up a dandelion mojito. And don't be afraid of the buds and flowers. With some foraged greens you can eat the unfurled buds, as well as the flowers. Dandelion flowers are used to make dandelion wine. You could also 'fritter' the dandelion flowers and saute unopened buds. I recently made dandelion ravioli (using cooked greens for the filling), then sauteed the buds in olive oil, S&P for the 'sauce.'
Now when I walk by dandelions, and see their white puff-ball heads, it really REALLY makes me want to pluck them all and blow the seeds everywhere. Maybe when people are mortified that I am spreading 'weeds', I can hand them recipe cards---LOL.