Canned Dandelions

Reports from the late 1980s claimed that the Wells family in Maine were the only producers in America of canned dandelions. The family had been in this business since 1894 when Walter Scott Wells founded the dandelion cannery. In the 1960s, the family also began offering canned fiddleheads, selling both under the Belle of Maine label.

However, the Strange Maine website indicates that since 2012 the Wells family has given up canning and is now only selling fresh, in-season fiddleheads and dandelions. Which would mean that it's apparently impossible to buy canned dandelions... at least, in the US. Not sure if a dandelion cannery still exists somewhere else in the world.

Hartford Sentinel - May 27, 1988

     Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 20, 2019
     Category: Food

I doubt anyone else cans dandelions. Very fresh, very young dandelion leaves are semi-well known as a salad green in many parts of Europe, but they must be absolutely fresh (and don't even consider the older ones, as the sap is awful). I can't imagine anyone here buying them canned.
Posted by Richard Bos on 12/22/19 at 08:47 AM
In the early 70s my dad got into the craze of cooking and eating wild plants, popularized by naturalist Euell Gibbons. One time he cooked some dandelion leaves from our backyard. They were actually pretty good.
Posted by Brian on 12/22/19 at 11:46 PM
They can spinach, so why not dandelions?

I remember reading the key to great dandelion leaves is to tie them in a bunch for a time before picking. That drains the sap and blanches them. I know I've eaten them (it was a thing at one time), but they didn't impress me too much one way or the other. Also, they have oxalic acid, which creates 'intestinal challenges' I can live without.
Posted by Phideaux on 12/23/19 at 05:00 AM
I wonder if the Wells family are notorious bedwetters. Dandelions have English folk names of "peebeds" and "pissabeds". They're called pissenlit in French, meaning "piss in bed". And there's similar Old World wisdom in Italian and Spanish.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 12/25/19 at 10:37 AM
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