Dandelions are one of many beautiful spring flowers. Flowering reveals beautiful yellow color, and they are essential food for many insects including bees, grasshoppers, butterflies, and others. They grow pretty much anywhere, and they are a beautiful decoration to our lawns. But, did you know that you can use them to make dandelion oil which can be utilized for many home-made products including soaps, lip balms, lotions, etc.?
Yes, it is an incredibly versatile plant that has numerous health benefits, but you have to be quick and get them at the right moment since they only blossom for several weeks each spring. In this article, I am going to explain the process of making dandelion oil, as well as how to properly use it. I made it on my own using a very simple process. However, keep in mind that the process requires time. But, before we get deeper into it, let’s discuss some of the main health benefits of dandelions.
Dandelion Health Benefits
The plant itself is incredibly nutritious, and it contains numerous vitamins and minerals including potassium, iron, and A, C, and K vitamins. Every part of it can be used, from root to flower, and every part has its own set of benefits. It is great as an antioxidant, and it is a great tool to fight inflammation.
Besides this, it can be used to treat hypertension, as well as high cholesterol, but one of the more unknown benefits is its capability to lower blood sugar. If you are looking for a natural way to boost your immune system, you should include it in your diet. It will also stimulate healthy digestion and aid in weight loss.
One of the less talked about benefits is the prevention of cancer. Although this hasn’t been researched yet properly, one study indicates that the flower of the plant prevents the growth of the cancer cells. The different study concluded that the root of the plant significantly slowed the growth of different cancers including pancreatic, liver, etc.
Lastly, dandelions are great when it comes to skincare. Certain studies indicate that this amazing plant prevents aging, skin damage, and different skin conditions like acne. However, not every part of the plant is useful for this intention. Only flowers themselves bring the mentioned benefits.
How to harvest dandelions?
Harvesting dandelions is a fairly simple process. All you have to do is wait for them to fully flower and cut the flowers off using scissors. However, there is one important thing you have to pay close attention to. While dandelions grow pretty much on any grass field, you have to make sure that it is not sprayed with any chemicals or pesticides which could be harmful to your health.
It is also a good idea to avoid busy roads or highways since the pollution from vehicles might contaminate the flowers. So, either pick them from your backyard or the field somewhere in nature. Only then, you’ll be sure that you picked the fresh dandelion flowers free of any contaminants.
How to dry dandelions?
Drying dandelions is again a fairly easy process, but you have to consider few things. Drying conditions are very important, and you must dry them at medium to high temperatures with low humidity, and preferably a breeze. Don’t forget to give the flowers a quick wash to remove all of the remaining insects and dirt.
Lay down some paper towels, and spread the flowers over them. Make sure that they are separated. The drying time will depend on the mentioned conditions, but they should fully dry in few days. Before you use them in oil, make sure that they are completely dried, since any leftover moisture might cause mold.
How to make dandelion oil?
To make dandelion oil, take a regular jar with a lid. Make sure that lid seals well. Take your dried dandelion flowers and fill up the jar all the way, leaving 1-inch of space from the top. Now take your favorite oil that you want to use for this. Any type of oil will do. I’ve decided to use sesame seed oil, but you can use olive oil, sunflower oil, or pretty much any other oil out there.
Fill up the jar almost to the top, leave 1-inch of room. Now take a fork and light press on the flowers to push all of the air out. Leaving some room in the jar will allow you to shake it up from time to time to re-mix the ingredients. Now, leave the jar in a dark a cold place for 4 to 6 weeks. It is also always a good idea to tag the jar with a date of infusion.
After 4 to 6 weeks pass, your oil is done. Take a strainer and pour the contents of the jar through it separating the oil from flowers. Lightly press on the flowers with a fork or spatula to get the remaining oil out, and you’re done. If you want to make even more potent dandelion oil, take another batch of flowers, mix it with finished oil and leave for another 4 to 6 weeks, repeating the process.
How to use dandelion oil?
One of the best uses is for skincare. It is great to alleviate dry skin, and it is even better to use for massage. You can also use it to alleviate joint or muscle pain. Another great use for it is in preparation of the home-made ointments and creams. You can also use it to make lip balms, skin lotions, and even soaps. All you have to do is include it in your recipes.
How to consume dandelion?
While I am here to talk about the oil, its preparation, and its use, I’ll quickly go over different ways to include dandelion in your diet.
One of the best ways to consume dandelion is in tea. For this all you’ll need its root which has to be cleaned properly and dried out. The roots then have to be chopped into small squares, and all you have to do is pour hot water over them. After straining, it is ready to drink. There is one thing to keep in mind though. The tea can taste a bit bitter, and the older the plant the bitterer the tea will be. For that reason, it is best to sweeten it with a bit of honey.
Another great way to consume the dandelion is as a replacement for coffee. It is not as strong as the coffee, but it does pack a bit of punch. Also, it will not be as hard on your stomach. For this, again all you need is a root. Dry it up, and grind it down. After that, you can use the same preparation process as with coffee. Again keep in mind that bitterness will be accentuated, and you’ll need a bit of sweetener and cream to tame it down a bit.
Decorate your sweets
Since the flowers are beautiful yellow color, you can use them to decorate your desserts and even other dishes. They have a mild taste, so they won’t overpower the main aroma. For this, you can either use dried or fresh petals.
Cook, or fry the flowers
You can also cook or fry the dandelion flowers. If you decide to fry them, you can eat them on their own, and they taste pretty good. However, you can also include them in some of your dishes. Since they have a mild taste they can be great to add a bit of twist to your cooking.
Use dandelion leaves
Believe it or not, even the leaves can be consumed. However, you shouldn’t use mature leaves since they can be a bit chewy and have an overly bitter taste. It is best to use young fresh leaves, and you can either use them to make a delicious salad or as a replacement for lettuce in hamburgers or sandwiches.