Can Eating Raw Dandelion Greens Make You Sick?

If you've been looking to take fewer trips to the grocery store, you may have made plans to gather fresh ingredients from your local farmer's markets or even created a garden in your own backyard. Whether you're looking to start sourcing your food from more sustainable places or you're trying to eat healthier, researching and growing healthy ingredients yourself will be to your benefit. Even if you're not planning on starting a garden anytime soon, there's a high likelihood that your backyard is already a treasure trove of edible ingredients waiting to be picked.

Whether you're looking to start sprucing up your salads or searching for unique ingredients that would otherwise get weed-whacked away, there are likely plenty of edible weeds waiting to be picked. From purslane to violets to chickweed, it's worth noting what usually pops up on your lawn or in the surrounding woods. However, dandelion greens may be one of the easiest to spot and most delicious to consume.

Raw dandelion greens are delicious

Dandelions are definitely safe to eat both raw and cooked, and you can eat almost all parts of the dandelion, aside from the stem. The dandelion greens, especially, taste great when mixed into dishes. The flavor is a bit bitter, especially when eaten raw, but in a pleasant way. 

Dandelion greens are easy to harvest and simple to create dishes with, as they can be prepared and treated just like any other salad green, and they're great simply washed, chopped, and tossed in a dressing, particularly a vinaigrette. Though it's worth noting that adding additional sweetness by drizzling some honey or maple syrup over the greens can help with their naturally bitter flavor.

If you plan on gathering your own dandelion greens, make sure you know what to look for. Dandelions are relatively easy to spot, so you should feel confident when harvesting. However, for your safety, if you plan on eating your harvest, you should only pick things if you're positive you can identify what it is you're plucking. Some plants have look-a-likes that will actually leave you feeling sick afterward, so referencing a few plant books is always advisable. It's also important to watch out for areas that are treated for pesticides or are likely heavily polluted like the edges of busy highways. 

However, if you're in a city or would rather visit a market to try dandelions out for yourself, many grocery stores and farmer's markets do sell raw dandelion greens, often year-round, for your consumption.