Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Foraging dandelion stem, gluten-free, keto, paleo "noodles" -- for free!



Hello! Do you ever pin something on Pinterest, 100% intending to try it, when the time is right/you have the materials/the plant you need is in season, but by the time you actually can try it, you've completely forgotten about it? I'm ashamed to say that dandelion stem "noodles" are one of those for me. 

I first saw the idea over over at Wild Food Girl, and it seemed totally interesting, but my dandelions were always short-stemmed, and growing sparsely. It didn't seem worth bending over and picking for hours for piddly little 4" noodles. 

But on Sunday, I encountered a field full of densely growing dandelion patches, where I could find 6-10 stalks in every square foot, and those stalks were long! Some were over 12". Fortunately, my mind remembered the post and I decided to experiment.

It's hard to tell in this picture, but many of the stems were a foot or so long!

And oh. my. goodness. What an experiment it was! These might be my new favorite way to eat dandelions. They become perfectly soft, almost exactly the texture of top-quality ramen noodles from your favorite restaurant. The flavor is mild and fresh, very slightly bitter, and tastes incredibly wholesome.  

And why pay for trendy, low calorie noodles, when you can get these for free? They've got nearly 0 calories, low carb, no sugar, no fat, and are gluten-free, keto and paleo!


Best of all, they extend the dandelion harvest even farther! I picked these from dandelion heads that had already gone to seed, long after the greens are good, and even after the flowers. Harvesting these stems extends dandelion season by a week or two; totally awesome, when you consider how nutritious dandelions are for you!

Dandelion stem "noodle" recipe:

Bring dandelion stems to boil in a pot of lightly salted water. Boil for about 7 minutes, or until tender. Drain, and serve as you would any other kind of noodle. Enjoy!



13 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I'm super glad you liked it, Alca, thanks for letting me know!

      Liz

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  2. Looks good, but these are NOT ketogenic. Ketogenic food has more fat grams tan the combined gram weight of protein plus net carbs.

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    1. If what you're saying is true, then virtually all vegetables would be considered non Ketogenic foods, which is completely false. Ketogenic foods are simply foods that carry a very low to no carbohydrate count, with specific macros that make up your daily fat / carbohydrate / protein ratios; however, those macros are made up from several different food sources. The nutrient profile of dandelions makes them an ideal food for folks on a ketogenic diet, and are recommended on many ketogenic websites. They contain 25 calories per cup of chopped dandelion greens, with 5 grams of carbohydrate and roughly 2 grams of fiber, making one cup of greens a total of 3 grams of carbohydrate. (I imagine the stems have virtually the same nutrient make up as the greens).

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    2. Exactly, thanks Cid. "Not keto" is "not a thing." Keto means only one thing - a reduction of carbohydrates low enough to enter ketosys. Nothing more. A "well formed ketogenic diet" will have the majority of its calories from fat sources, you can be ketogenic by not eating anything. At all.

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    3. Hi Anon,

      As Cid and Snoopy have pointed out, I'm not entirely sure why you feel dandelion isn't keto.

      But if you are looking for wild foods with even lower grams of carbs, I suggest you try the mustard family. Wild mustards grow all over North America, and I can guarantee there is one near you. They have about the same carbs as cultivated mustards, so about 2.5g net per cup.

      I would also recommend the leafy docks (like curly dock) or sow thistle, which are probably comparable to spinach in terms of carb count (somewhere in the 1.5g range).

      I would avoid herbs in the mint family, like deadnettle and henbit, as they are probably higher in carbs.

      If you are looking specifically for high-fat wild foods, I can't really think of any off-hand, aside from walnuts and pecans, depending on where you live. You could also look for the seeds of wild mustards, but be warned--gathering them is time-consuming and laborious.

      Be aware that acorns are actually quite high in carbs, for a nut, while being rather low in fat.

      Hope that helps!

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  3. I'm betting a cup of "noodles" has less because they are hollow! :)

    Ooooo... I'm thinking I'll try dehydrating these! How wonderful would it be to taste them on New Years Day!

    Thanks for the post!

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    1. Let me know how dehydrating them works out! I usually can't wait--I want an instant reward for my labor :D

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. I didn't know acorns were edible. How do you use them ? How about buckeyes?

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    1. YES! Acorns are not only edible, but they were a foundational food for every single culture that developed in the temperate belts, including European ones, Native Americans, and Far Eastern cultures.

      Processing them is a pain though. You have to first inspect that the shell to make sure that it hasn't been contaminated by a wasp larva (aka acorn grub--but if you do find them, they are edible as well, should you be inclined).

      After inspection, crack the shell and remove the nut meats. These will be full of tannins, which are both unpleasant in taste and bad for your tummy.

      You can either boil them, usually in several changes of water, depending on how much tannins the acorns have. You want to repeat the process till the water is clear, but each tree will produce nuts with different amounts of tannins, so I can't tell you how many.

      The boiling method is faster, but it destroys a starch which helps bind the nutmeat together. So if you choose to boil the acorns, you can use them like nuts, but you won't be able to use them as gluten-free flour--which is what most people want.

      So then there is the cold-leach method. The cold-leach method involves leaving the nut meat (broken into pieces) in cold water for several days, as the water darkens and looks like tea. Then you pour that water off and repeat the process, until the water doesn't darken. This process makes the nutmeat viable for flours when ground, however it's time consuming and wasteful of water.

      The Native Americans would put the nutmeat in a bag and leave it in a fast-moving stream, and collect it several days later, but this isn't something we all have access to.

      The most environmentally-friendly way for the modern forager to cold-leach acorns is to put a bag of nutmeats in the top-tank of your toilet (I know it SOUNDS gross, but the water coming in is clean) and just "go about your business" as you normally would. You want to leave them in for a couple of days, at least for Red Oaks. Even once the flushes come out clear, remember that the nuts aren't getting a very long soak, so they aren't releasing as much tannins in-between flushes, so don't use a clear flush as a sign of completion.

      Buckeyes are poisonous.

      Hope that helps!

      Liz

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  6. What do you put on the noodles

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    1. I like to use them like lo-mein, because I think they have a very similar texture. So I use them with Chinese sauces and stir-fry on top. But you could also use them in Italian dishes.

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