Monday, September 8, 2014
* in-ground dandelion weeds
* veggie brush
* coffee grinder
Dandelion roots are best dug in either early spring or late fall. Whenever you dig, be sure you’re doing so in a chemical-free yard or green space. Dandelion roots go deep, so dig deep down before firmly pulling up on the root, using the top of the plant as a handle. Whenever you are breaking sod on a new garden bed or weeding an existing bed, set aside the dandelions as the hard part is already done.
Once you have a large quantity dug, cut off the entire top part of the plants. (If you harvest in early spring, the leaves are awesome as a salad or a cooked green.
The roots are very dirty, so you need to take care to clean them thoroughly. They will be easier to clean if you let them soak in water for a half hour. Run the roots under cold water and use the veggie brush to clean them well. Repeat until the water runs clear. Dry them on a towel.
Chop them into small pieces. Allow them to air dry for two weeks. When the roots have thoroughly dried, roast them in a dry skillet, stirring frequently, until they are a dark, rich brown—about 10 to 15 minutes. Then grind them in a coffee grinder.
You can brew a "coffee" straight from the ground dandelion roots or you can mix the ground roots 50-50 with coffee. If you’re going roots only, use 1 Tbsp roasted dandelion roots per cup of water. I usually do the 50-50 version and brew it in my coffee pot, although you can also simmer the ground roots in a saucepan on the stove top until the liquid is a rich brown and then strain out the roots.
Either way, the brew is earthy, nutty and slightly sweet—perfect as is, or you can dress it up with cream and sugar. (It does have a slightly sweet flavor on its own, so I skip the sugar.) Dandelion roots have no caffeine, so dandelion coffee is ideal for evening sipping or for those who are trying to cut back on the hard stuff. Enjoy.
I originally published this on Homegrown.