WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Backyard Harvest: Turn Dandelion Buds into Capers

You can do what with a dandelion? That’s right, dandelions are edible and have great health benefits. So before you decide to kill these weedy perennials, try out this recipe to pickle the dandelion buds into capers.

In my last submission, I wrote about my interest in creating art from painted rocks. These can also be found in the outdoors and often, your own backyard. Now I am going to tell more about another one of my passions, which is foraging.

Early spring you will start to see your yard covered in the very familiar yellow blossoms. Before the stems grow and flower, you will find the small bud at the base of the plant. They will be tightly closed and will look similar to little buttons.

Jessica White Backyard Dandelions
Backyard Dandelions

When harvesting edible plants you always want to keep in mind where you are grabbing them. I knew my yard was safe since I do not spray pesticides, but I did have to keep away from Theo’s typical bathroom spots. Don’t harvest close to roads where car exhaust fumes might reach your edibles or where someone might be spraying. 

Dandelion Capers Ingredients

2 Cups Dandelion Buds

⅓ Cup Water

⅔ Cup Vinegar

1 tsp Pickling Salt

2 Garlic Cloves

How to Make Dandelion Capers

Start by preparing the buds by stripping off the sepals, cutting off the extra stem and washing the buds in cold water. I threw out any buds that were starting to open.

Jessica White Dandelion Buds
Processing the dandelion buds

I placed the buds in a sterilized mason jar with a clove or two of garlic. In a saucepan combine your water, vinegar and salt. Bring to a light boil and stir until salt has dissolved. Pour your hot mixture into your mason jar filled with the dandelions and garlic, until the water mixture covers the dandelions. Cap and store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days or process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes leaving ½ inch of headspace. 

Jessica White Dandelion buds
Dandelion buds

You will notice the dandelions will want to float to the top of the liquid. Every couple of days I carefully mixed the dandelions and liquid by turning the jar upside down, that way all of the dandelions are covered by the water mixture. 

Jessica White Pickled Dandelion Capers dog
Theo supervising!

These dandelion buds are a great substitute for your store bought capers and can be used in the same ways. I have added them on to grilled pheasant bbq pizza and homemade lemon chicken piccata

Jessica White Dandelion Capers Chicken Piccata
Chicken piccata with dandelion capers

  • About Jessica White

    Jessica White is the founder of Wander Woman Kansas, an outdoor education program for women near the Kansas City area. She grew up with a family that spends time outdoors, which provided her a great deal of experiences. She has gone on every kind of hunting and fishing trip imaginable with her Dad. While he liked that part of the outdoors, her Mom, on the other hand, taught her the love of camping, canoeing, caving, rappelling and all kinds of outdoor sports. Jessica still enjoys trips with them, but she started Wander Woman to encourage other women to find themselves in the outdoors.


The Conversation

  • Spencer Tomb says: August 31, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    Hello. Here is a little more on the lowly dandelion. The buds are also great boiled and served with lemon and butter a black pepper. Put small pots of water on the stove. The water should be more than enough to cover the buds. Put the buds one pot and bring to a boil. drain out the water and put the buds into the other pot and bring that to a boil drain the water out and add butter, lemon juice and black pepper. Some like to put salt in the second pot. Did you know that the Russians learned to make rubber out of the milky sap of dandelions in WW II? I have seen a list of a 111 things that can be done with dandelions. I am partial to the dandelion and its relatives as my doctoral research was on a genus that is related to the dandelion.