Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dandelion Root Coffee - The Verdict

Deus Ex Machina and I harvested dandelion roots a week or so ago. We cleaned the roots, cut them into one-inch pieces and roasted them at 350° for about a half hour. Then, we put them in a jar and left the jar on the table, because we got busy doing other stuff. Today, we took them out of the jar, ground them up, put a few spoonsful in the French coffee press, added boiling water, and allowed the tea to steep for a while.

I haven't had coffee in a while, but there was a time when I would toss back a pot of coffee in the morning and a pot of coffee at night before bed. I know what coffee tastes like.

And what's in my cup is it, and it's good.

The best part, though, is not that it's really good (I mean REALLY good), but that it's really good for me. Whether or not I believe all of the claims of the extraordinary health benefits of dandelions, I will say that as a coffee substitute, it's a winner.

I gave up coffee in favor of tea several years ago, because tea is a healthier choice. When I wanted to localize my diet, I started a search for a tea substitute, and truly, what I wanted was something that tasted like tea, but I still haven't found it. It amuses me that I have, likely, found what I probably wanted all a long - a healthy coffee-flavored beverage that can be locally produced ... and it was, literally, right under my feet all a long.

10 comments:

  1. I really love my coffee even though I know it is not a healthy choice. I have dandelions growing all over the garden as weeds, so I am tempted to give this a try.

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  2. Dandelion root coffee is something I've meant to try for years.

    Will dig up some plants this week!

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  3. Hi Wendy. Can I just check if the dandelion that you are referring to has this scientific name

    Taraxacum officinale

    If so, we have them here also, and lots of these near my greenhouse! Let me know and I will dig a few up and give it a go!

    Gav x

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  4. I go through phases where I stop drinking coffee in favor of tea...never herbal though, unless I am sick. I'm not sure I could give up coffee right now though, it is helping me function through these early years of babes :-)

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  5. Ugh, let's try this one more time.

    @ Gav - It is, indeed, taraxacum officinale. There are some plants with lookalike flowers (colts foot, here in the US), but the leaves are pretty distinctive.

    The whole plant is edible, and I've found a lot of really intersting information about it. We've had the flowers as fritters (dredged in batter and fried), the leaves in salad and sauteed with butter and garlic, and now the root as coffee. It's a great plant and, now, has an honored place in my garden ;).

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  6. Thanks for the reply Wendy. Well I have those in abundance, even on the nature strip near the road, so will dig a few up and give it a try.

    Will post on my blog if successful!

    Cheers x

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  7. oh, we love dandelion decoction! I've been wanting to experiment with roasting it, since there are expensive coffee substitute versions out there, sometimes combined with other things such as chicory, that are roasted after the roots are chopped. Found a blog somewhere that showed roasting at 250 degrees in the oven on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet....you've inspired me to try this today! :-D Wish we lived next door!

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  8. Good for you! We have such heavy clay soils out here, digging dandelions up and getting the entire root out is quite a workout, but perhaps I'll try it next spring. Or, I may leave them for the bees, as they are the first flowers to bloom in spring.

    We've finally taken the plunge and learned how to roast our own coffee beans with an air popper. The green beans are not locally sourced, of course, as we live on Colorado's Front Range and I buy them from a Washington state importer, but they're a good storage staple. I bought 40 pounds two years ago for $4 a pound (then it took me two years to get around to learning how to roast them. sigh), but they still roasted up wonderfully and they're about a third of the cost of roasted high-quality coffee beans.

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  9. I've been wanting to try this for a while; I'm glad to hear you like it. I'm also curious to try dandelion wine--my grandfather in North Dakota used to make up quite a bit 'back in the day.' I've never tried it, though it does sound promising!

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  10. We drink a lot of tea. I have started growing apple mint to make an excellent tea (hot and iced).

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