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How to make easy and delicious dandelion fritters

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinalis) bloom on lawns all around the world. Herbalists use the roots and leaves of the plant for supporting the elimination systems of the body. Dandelion leaf is commonly used as a diuretic and the root is used to support liver and gallbladder function (Chevallier, 2000). However, one of my favorite ways to use dandelion is to use the flower heads to make fritters. These dandelion fritters are delicious as a starter, snack, or side, and while dandelions are most prolific in the spring, you can find the flowers and make these all summer long or anytime the flowers are present.

Those with high regard for perfectly manicured yards may think of this fuzzy flowered Asteraceae family member as a nuisance, and they might be surprised to learn that this sunny little “weed” has an incredible capacity to nourish and support the body.

Dandelions can be used as a food and a supplement. For extracts or teas containing dandelion, your local apothecary or health food store should have at least one option available. Dandelion greens can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores in the spring and summer months. You can also learn to identify this plant and find a place to forage it near where you live.

Flower Picking

The first step for this recipe is getting your hands on some dandelion flowers. You may be able to find someone selling these, but it’s not something I’ve ever seen. The best option is to find a place where you can forage your dandelions. I live in an apartment and choose not to harvest from the apartment lawns due to pet waste and the use of chemicals by the landscaping company. I do, however, have several friends with chemical-free lawns, and they will let me come over to pick dandelions whenever I want.

Dandelion is easy to learn how to identify because it has very distinct features. The deeply serrated, toothed leaves, the bright yellow fluffy composite flowers, and the hollow single flower stems will all be confirmation that you have your hands on a dandelion. For this recipe, we just need the flower tops. Pinch or pop the flower heads from the top of the stem until you have about two cups of dandelion flowers.

Flower Preparation

When you get home you’ll want to wash the dandelions before you begin to prepare them for the fritters. To wash the dandelion heads, fill a large mixing bowl with water, and then dunk and swish the dandelion flowers in the bowl of water one handful at a time. Do this several times to remove any dirt or bugs from the tightly packed, many-petaled flowers.

When you remove the dandelions from the bath, place them face down on a clean kitchen towel to drain. Give them 30 minutes to 1 hour to dry out a bit before you move to the next step. After all the flowers have been through the bath and are drying, I typically clean out the bowl and set it to dry, so I can use it again when it is time to mix my batter.

Once the flowers have had time to dry off a bit from the bath, I break them down for the batter. To do this, you can either pinch the petals out of the green bracts because the bracts can be fibrous and tough (which is not always agreeable in the mouth or the stomach), or you can use the whole flower head. Place the petals or flower heads in a bowl to prepare your batter.

Dandelion Fritters Recipe

One of my favorite things about dandelion fritters, beyond their deliciousness, is how ridiculously easy they are to throw together. While I appreciate a good from-scratch recipe, I always cheat by starting with a box of cornbread mix for fritters. I love Bob’s Red Mill cornbread mix, but you can use your favorite variety. The consistency of cornbread batter is excellent for making fritters, and the sweet-meets-savory flavor is the perfect base upon which to build. With this in mind, here’s my recipe for dandelion fritters. Ingredients 1 package cornbread mix Eggs (for cornbread mix) Water (for cornbread mix) Avocado oil (for cornbread mix) 2 cups dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) petals Oil for frying Directions

  • Use a large mixing bowl to prepare the cornbread batter according to the package instructions.

  • After the batter is mixed, fold in the dandelion petals until fully combined. Now that your fritter batter is ready to go, let’s prepare the cooking area.

  • The key to successful and stress-free frying is to set up your space appropriately before you begin cooking. To do this you’ll want your fritter batter set up with a spoon for portioning your fritters as you drop them into the hot oil, and a spatula for flipping and retrieving the fritters. You’ll also want a large plate lined with paper towels or a cooling rack ready for receiving the golden brown patties once they are done.

  • Now that we have all the tools we need for a successful fry, let’s get the oil ready. Place a large, deep cast iron skillet on the stovetop, and pour in enough oil to cover the entire pan about one-quarter inch up the sides. I like to use avocado oil for frying, but canola oil is a more cost-effective option. The key is to use an oil with a high smoke point for frying.

  • With the oil in the pan, turn the burner up to medium-high heat until the surface of the oil begins to “shimmer” or show movement. Once the oil is animated by the heat of the skillet, turn the heat down to medium. When the oil is ready, it’s time for a test fritter. Carefully spoon the batter into the pan, cook for a minute or two and then flip. Not dissimilar to pancakes, fritters are ready to flip when the edges start to look done and the top begins to set. Remove the fritter from the pan and allow it to cool before taste testing.

Tips For the Perfect Dandelion Fritter

  • If the oil is at a good temperature, 350-375 degrees F, the fritter will come out crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. If the oil is not hot enough, the fritter will absorb the oil, making the inside of the fritter greasy and heavy. If the oil is not hot enough, wait a couple of minutes and then try again. Conversely, if the fritter comes out done or even overdone on the outside and is still doughy or wet on the inside, you will need to lower the temperature of the pan so that your fritters will cook more evenly.

  • Once you’re sure the oil is hot enough you can begin to make your fritters a few at a time. I don’t recommend trying to cook more than three fritters at a time, for a few reasons. One reason is that you want to give each fritter enough room in the pan for it to be surrounded by the oil so that the edges get nice and crispy. Adding too much batter to the oil at once can drop the temperature of the cooking oil as well, leading the fritters to absorb rather than be crisped by the frying oil. It’s also more difficult to maintain quality control of your fritters if there are too many to flip and retrieve from the oil at one time.

  • Cooking times can vary based on the size of your fritters. Fritters are ready to flip once the edges start to look done and the tops begin to set. After you flip your fritter, cook for another minute until both sides are a crispy golden brown. Avoid stacking the fritters on top of each other, as stacking them when they are hot from the fryer will cause them to steam, retain moisture, and lose their satisfying crunch.

Fritter Dip

The perfect complement to a warm crispy dandelion fritter is a delicious dip to enhance the flavor and provide a little lubrication for the palate. My recommendation is a cool and creamy herbed sour cream dip. It’s so simple to make and comes together in minutes, although the longer you can let it sit before serving, the better the flavor will be. Here is the recipe. Ingredients 1 cup sour cream 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped fine 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped fine 1 tablespoon dried onion ½ teaspoon salt Directions

  • Mix all the ingredients in a small container.

  • Allow the dip to sit in the fridge for a minimum of 15 minutes. The dip requires a short resting period to allow the dehydrated onions a chance to rehydrate and soften a bit. However, if you can make the dip at the beginning of this process and let it sit in the fridge until your fritters are ready to be eaten, the flavors will marry together for an even tastier mouthful.

In Closing,

Here you have it, a delicious and easy recipe for dandelion fritters with a fresh herb dip. When dandelions are readily available, you can enjoy these as a snack or side dish. Share them with your friends and family, or keep them all for yourself!

Do you want to learn more?

Featured image credit: “Dandelion fritters. Take that, dandelions!” by etcher67 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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Chevallier, A. (2000). Encyclopedia of herbal medicine. Dorling Kindersley Limited.


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