We also tried fiddlehead ferns, which we found very bitter. And wild oregano grew around that same state forest, so that was useful. But the ramps have remained the only foraged food we always go out to gather.
This year, it occurred to me that I had never tried dandelion greens. Did you know that almost every part of a dandelion is edible? Yup. Even the root. I'm not that hard up for a coffee substitute, so no thanks on the root, but I thought it might be nice to have some greens long before anything in the garden is ready to harvest.
It took awhile to harvest even a modest amount of dandelion greens. Turns out, most of our dandelions, while incredibly numerous, are pretty small. So I had to cut A LOT to get about three cups of uncooked greens. Not that it mattered, as I was just wandering around after Cubby with my scissors and canvas bag. He inspected rocks and tried to eat dirt, I cut dandelion greens. A good time all around.
Now, dandelion greens--like all greens--are really, really dirty. They grow close to the ground and their leaves trap dirt, so they have to be washed at least a couple of times. Also like all other greens, they cook down to nothing. I elected to skip blanching the greens--which a lot of people do to reduce the bitterness--so that we could try their full flavor this first time. So I just sauteed them in olive oil with some garlic until they were wilted, and then I added some balsamic vinegar, salt, and butter.
I ended up with about 3/4 of a cup of greens. They were, um, bitter. IMAGINE THAT. A little too bitter for my tastes, but the MiL* loved them, A. thought they were pretty good, and even Cubby ate some.
I should probably be embarrassed that my toddler will eat things I can't stand. He'll even eat liver. Ew. Then again, he also tries to eat dirt, so he's not exactly a great gourmet.
So, the lessons here: Bitterness isn't always a bad thing, next time I will blanch the greens before sauteeing them, and yes, there will be a next time for dandelion green foraging.
* Today is the MiL's birthday. Feel free to wish her many happy returns of the day in the comments. Or, you know, just wish her a happy birthday if you don't want to be all formal-like.