An even more labour-intensive wild edible: brand new dandelion buds.
If you look at the base of a flowering dandelion, right in the centre of its rosette of leaves you'll often find one (or occasionally two) new buds getting ready to rise up on their stalks and become flowers.
A couple of weeks ago I happened to find myself in a field of dandelions for about half an hour, with two small helpers. Even with three of us on the job, we only managed to gather a handful of buds. But it was fun.
The biggest buds come from the biggest dandelions with the thickest stalks - and these are often the plants in the longest grass.
The best-tasting buds are the newest ones, deepest in the rosette.
To cook, I drop them in boiling water for just a few seconds, then let them cool and add them to salads.
Recently I've experimented with boiling them in a water/soy sauce mix. They absorb a lot of the soy sauce, and I think, make an even nicer addition to a salad that way - juicy and salty.
I liked them in this salad - young puha leaves with an orange vinaigrette.
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