Saturday, May 12, 2018

Roasted Dandelion Root Coffee

Finally! After a long, dreary winter, spring has arrived! My favorite part about the spring is gathering up the fresh greens and flowers that are packed full of vitamins and minerals and are super tasty. This year I have dried my dandelion leaves, flowers and made the roots into a wonderful roasted "coffee".

The "coffee" is a not actually coffee but makes a wonderful substitute. It has a nice flavor - a somewhat coffee, caramel and chocolate flavor combination. It's hard to describe, but with a little bit of cream and a touch of honey - it's pretty much heaven! The spring crop of roots are much more mild than the fall crop. The fall is more robust and bitter and packed with more vitamins and minerals because the roots are storing all the nutrition required to make a strong plant in the spring. Fall is the best time to harvest for drying roots for their medicinal value and for the most robust coffee, but I love the spring harvest as well! 

I dig up my dandelions whole and try to get as much as the root as possible. They are long and do easily break off. I found it best to try to run a long screwdriver or a dandelion removing down next to the root as closely as possible and break the ground around it by wiggling it back and forth. If difficult to remove, I will do this around the plant. A shovel works, too, but it leaves a lot more mess to deal with and depending where you harvest your plants, you may not want to leave holes behind.

After digging the dandelions, I pre-rinse with a hose to get rid of as much dirt as possible. Then I put the whole plant in a 5 gallon bucket and rinse, drain, rinse, drain, rinse, drain.... until the water looks quite clean. Next, I cut off the top part of the plant and put in two separate piles.


I then put the roots in a bowl and soak for a little bit. Then I rinse a few more times and try to swish off as much of the remaining dirt as possible.


I then use a scrub brush to take off the remaining dirt. I like putting a small cutting board in the bottom of the sink to have something to scrub on. If the roots have a lot of off-shoots, I'll break them apart to get in between them.



Then I put them in my food processor and chop until the pieces resemble brown rice.



Next I pour them on a cookie sheet and put them in a 225 degree oven and let them dry. This can take about an hour. 



I then check to see how they are drying by stirring every 10 to 20 minutes or so. Drying times will depend on the day, your oven, how large the pieces are, etc.


After the pieces are dry, I increase the oven temperature to 325 and continue to bake. Now the roasting process has started. I kept a close eye on it and mixed every 10 minutes. I love this part because when the root is almost ready to remove from the oven, it has the most amazing aroma of baking a chocolate cake or brownies! 



Some people will remove the root as soon as they see small wisps of smoke coming from the root. I put mine back in a bit longer. I like a darker roast. I find it to have a bit more of a robust flavor. 



After removing from the oven, I let it cool and then put it in a jar. The contents in the jar are much more true in color to the actual end product. 


To use:

Put water in a pan and bring to a boil. Add the dandelion root, stir well and boil for 1 minute. Make sure it doesn't boil over because it will produce foam on top. You will need 1 tsp. of Roasted Dandelion Root Coffee per 8 oz of water (adjust to taste). Serve with a little cream and honey if desired.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a qualified/licensed instructor or certified to teach wildcrafting, using herbs or explaining how to identify any plant I use or speak of in these posts. This is only describing what I did and how I use the item described in MY home with MY family. I am not to be held responsible for any misinformation or any mishaps if anyone decides to try this at home. If you decide to try this method - it is at your own risk. Please research and study any plants, methods and side effects of the plant describe in this post.

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