How to select: Ask at your natural market for these slightly peppery, notched leaves, which should be dark green, with paler stems. (It’s best not to gather them from lawns and roadsides, where they are often sprayed with pesticides.) Refrigerate; use within a day or two.

Preparation tips: Wash thoroughly but gently. Small, delicate leaves are delicious raw in salads. Larger, more bitter leaves may be cooked and make a fine substitute for kale or chard; try sautéing lightly with chopped shallots, garlic, and red wine vinegar, or add to bean soups toward the end of cooking.

Health benefits: Like other dark leafy greens, dandelion leaves are an excellent source of calcium, fiber, vitamins A and C, and iron.

Try this recipe: Radish, Fennel & Dandelion Salad