Dandelion is a member of the sunflower family. The leaves have irregular and jagged edges and a yellow flower grows from the hollow stem in the center of the rosette of leaves. The leaves have a rich and slightly bitter flavor. They should be harvested only from pesticide free areas when the tender young leaves are less than six inches long. Recent research has shown the dandelion to be nature's richest vegetable source of cancer-fighting beta-carotene. Dandelion greens are richer in potassium than bananas, and the flowers are richer in lecithin than soybeans. Dandelions contain many trace minerals. Commercial growing of dandelion greens is a ten million-dollar annual business so parrot owners should be able to find them in many stores. Many birds enjoy the yellow dandelion flowers as well as the greens. Both are excellent sources of vitamin A, calcium, and other nutrients. Medicinal benefits: Useful as a digestive stimulant and as a treatment for gout, skin problems, and liver disorders.
Because I am such a believer in a (mostly) natural whole food diet for parrots I decided to make this recipe and ran it past my feeding group and my vet. I add natural (raw) ACV daily to my bird's drinking water.

1. Collect dandelions from a pesticide free area. Look for young plants with leaves less than six inches, flowers are fine. Pull up the whole plant, including roots.

2. Wash carefully. Some folks say the dirt from the roots is beneficial but, I don't know about that. Kinda seems unlikely to me.

3. Chop whole plant, including roots or dice in food processor (this is what I do.) Bring plain old AVC to a boil and pour over diced plant in a glass jar. Seal and leave for two weeks in a dark area.

4. After two weeks, strain through a coffee filter and you should have a lovely clear ACV that smells wonderfully and is very good (according to my vet and my feeding group) for birds. Combine half and half with raw ACV and use in water, over bird bread, in mash, etc.

As always, use your own good judgement and be very careful where you are getting your dandelions from. No areas of major run off, of heavy pollution or areas that have been sprayed.

I dry my remaining plants by hanging upside down in a dark, warm closet. Then I process the dry greens finely and add them with my other greens (mustard, collard etc etc) when I make my mash. Nothing wasted.