RED DANDELION (Cichorium intybus), is a red-stemmed version of one of my favorite spring greens. Delightful picked young and added fresh to salads for the beautiful coloration. This is a chickory, so unlike green dandelion, it will not bolt to seed for an entire season! But like the green, it is a healthy potherb, worth growing for that reason alone. And fabulous as a baby green added directly to salads. As a mature green, add to your stir fries or sautee as a side in olive oil and garlic. Flavor is bitter/sweet wonderful. 35 days (baby) - 50 days. 50 Seeds.
GROWING TIPS: Easy to grow. Plant as soon as ground can be worked and harvest the young leaves for culinary use. Older leaves are too bitter to be edible. Let your older plants mature through at least one-two growing cycles and harvest the long thick taproots in the fall for either for medicinal purposes or to roast, grind and add to your coffee or brew on its own. Let it go to flower, keeping it pruned to form a small bush of cornflower-like blue blooms and it will grace your kitchen garden all summer until forming seeds late in the season. Run your fingers down a seeded branch to collect and then thrash to loose the seeds.
CULINARY: This is a truly wonderful green. It grows all summer long here in North Carolina, pushing up heads of red-tinged dandelion, but without the pronounced bitterness in heat that ordinary dandelions have. I snip it into salads, but I also like to saute it with salmon filets, along with a little onion and thinly slided carrot. Delicious on brown rice!