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Pissenlit Blanc is slender, elongated leaves, averaging 5 to 25 centimeters in length, that grow in loose rosettes connected to a singular base. The stems are white, crunchy, smooth, and firm with narrow, pale yellow leaves. The edges of the leaves are jagged with small points, also known as teeth, and the leaves also have a crisp, tender consistency. Pissenlit Blanc is grown without sunlight in the final stages of cultivation, which develops a mild and tangy, subtly bitter flavor.
Pissenlit Blanc is available year-round, with a peak season in the early spring through summer.
Pissenlit Blanc, botanically classified as Taraxacum officinale, is a rare, specialty item that belongs to the Asteraceae family. The pale-yellow leaves are also known as Lion’s Teeth, and the name Pissenlit Blanc translates from French to mean “white dandelion.” Pissenlit Blanc is created from a process known as forcing, blanching, or bleaching, where dandelion leaves are covered during cultivation to prevent sunlight exposure. This blocks chlorophyll from being produced in the leaves, creating a pale-yellow hue, tender consistency, and mild flavor. Many different dandelion varieties can be forced to develop Pissenlit Blanc, with the most popular cultivars including ameliore geant a forcer, a coeur plein ameliore, tres hatif, and vert de montmagny ameliore. Pissenlit Blanc is somewhat challenging to find and is typically sold at high prices due to its extensive cultivation requirements. The pale leaves are especially popular in France, sold in limited quantities in local markets, and are also exported to neighboring countries throughout Europe.
Pissenlit Blanc is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which are antioxidants that can increase collagen production in the body and boost the immune system. The leaves are also a good source of fiber, which can regulate digestion and contains some zinc, potassium, vitamin B9, iron, and calcium.
Pissenlit Blanc is best suited for raw applications as its mild, bitter flavor and tender consistency are showcased when consumed fresh, out-of-hand. The slender, crisp leaves are primarily hand shredded and tossed into green salads, layered into sandwiches, or placed as a bed of leaves underneath cooked meats. In addition to fresh applications, Pissenlit Blanc can sometimes be tossed into soups or stews, lightly sautéed with aromatics, or used as a topping on pizza. Pissenlit Blanc pairs well with sharp cheeses such as blue, gorgonzola, goat, feta, and pecorino, fruits such as grapes, apples, and pears, fennel, tomatoes, nuts such as walnuts, pine nuts, and almonds, eggs, bacon, fish, and duck. The fresh greens will keep 2-3 days when stored loosely in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer refrigerator.
Dandelion leaves are often considered a weed in many countries around the world, but in France, the plants are a favorite green harvested in February. There are over fifty varieties of dandelions in France and many cultivars are found growing wild in meadows, pastures, gardens, and wineries. Before dandelion leaves were used in culinary applications, the bitter leaves were used in folk medicine as a natural diuretic and blood cleanser. Young dandelion leaves are primarily used fresh in salads, and some home gardeners will create their own Pissenlit Blanc in their gardens by covering the growing plants to create a tender and milder consistency. In addition to the leaves, the entire dandelion plant is edible, including the roots and flowers. The roots are commonly dried, roasted, and stirred into hot beverages such as coffee, while the flowers can be cooked into jams, risottos, and teas.
Dandelions are native to regions in Asia and Europe and have been growing wild since ancient times. The first written record of the plant was documented in the 10th century, and many new culinary varieties were developed and officially grown for cultivation during the 19th century. Today both wild and cultivated dandelion varieties are forced and sold as Pissenlit Blanc in local markets in France, especially in the northern regions. The specialty leaves are also exported on a smaller scale to other countries within Europe and are sold at fresh markets. Beyond local markets, dandelion leaves are sometimes forced and harvested in home gardens for culinary use in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and North America.
Recipes that include Pissenlit Blanc. One is easiest, three is harder.
|La Cocotte||Potato Gratin with White Dandelions|
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Near Berlin, Berlin, Germany
About 532 days ago, 4/09/22