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Posts Tagged ‘Wild Harvesting’

Alas, my friends, I am guilty of shirking my blogging responsibilities! But who can truly blame me? The Spirits of Spring have called me to the newly blooming Gardens ( or what will soon become gardens ), and who can resist the call of Nature ( no, not that call! ūüėČ )? I apologize, but now it seems the rains have come to Georgia and I suppose I will be stuck indoors today! So now I sit, sipping a steaming cup of Organic ( and Fair Trade ) coffee mixed with wild harvested, roasted Dandelion Root that I recently dug from my yard.

¬†¬† ¬†I have, in earlier posts, preached the amazing qualities of this sometimes hated weed, and what better time to explain the roasting process than on a rainy day? Plus I figured with my total lack of posts I might better give y’all something useful to read, otherwise my minions ( oops… I mean Readers:) )might rise against me! Now enough of the babble, let’s get to the good stuff!

What dainty Flowers!

How to Roast Dandelion Roots:

First, of course, we must extract them from the soil! To ensure a continuous supply of crunchy, cleansing roots, and crisp salad greens, we must pick the seed laden puff balls and make a few wishes for the future! Just be sure not to blow the seeds into your neighbors yard ( unless, of course, they share your love for dandelion’s sunny disposition )!

To gather the greatest amount of roots, you will need a good spade, and by spade, I mean a square shaped shovel with a nice, sharp edge to it. Some people prefer a regular shovel, but these tenacious roots tend to grow about 2 feet long, strait down into your yard, so it gets pretty difficult unless you have a long shovel!

¬†A good root diggin’ technique is to dig in a circle around the base of the plant, placing the spade straight down at the base and jumping up and down on it multiple times, then standing on the shovel and rocking precariously side to side to loosen the soil around said Dandelion. Not only is this really fun, it’s the only way I’ve found to get the whole root! Comment if you have a more efficient ( though maybe slightly less fun) technique. Once you have the soil loosened, reach down and grab the base of the plant and using your shovel for leverage, pull straight up. You should now have a beautiful, dirt covered root, along with some excess dirt under your fingernails. Keep up the diggin’ until you have enough roots ( there’s no real way to tell how many you’ll need, because, of course each root is a different size, shape and length).

These beautiful little roots, covered in Ga. Red Dirt, are actually a golden yellow color when washed. You can see how long and skinny they are, and they shoot straight down into the soil.

Now clean your roots outside first at the hose, I like to set up a grate over my compost pile, then spray them with the hose, but not too hard, you don’t really want to bruise them, however, get as much soil off as possible before moving on to the kitchen sink. Once inside, cut the leaves off and set them aside for lunch, then move on to scrubbing them as you would a potato, until all the dirt is gone. Place them on a paper towel to get the excess water off, then start chopping them up.

Now you can see the yellowish color. Sorry for the Horrible Pic!

It doesn’t really matter how you chopp them as long as their basically the same thickness to ensure even drying.

Spread them on a baking sheet, a couple of centimeters thick, and place in a 250 degree F. oven, leaving the door partially open to allow  moisture to escape. Keep checking them until they look shriveled, then leave them for about 30 more minutes to get a nice brown to golden color. The whole process usually only takes about 2 hours (unless you decide to try this on an extremely humid Georgia afternoon, like I did! Then it takes half the day to just dry them!:))

When their nice and roasted (I can always tell by the Earthy, slightly spicy aroma that permeates my kitchen), store them, unground, in an airtight jar in a cool dark area just like any other medicinal herb.

I like to grind the Dandelion with the coffee beans at a ratio of about a third of the Dandelion root to two thirds of the coffee. Adding more will give you a more bitter, Cafe Du Monde chicory-like flavor. Then Brew just like you would regular coffee and enjoy the cleansing, nutrient rich flavor of your dandelion coffee! Just remember, both coffee and Dandelion roots are diuretic, which basically means you’ll be urinating more than usual. Don’t let it get you down, it just means the dandelion is traveling through your body picking up toxins along the way out. Be sure, however, to get a little extra potassium in your diet, as this can be depleted by a pickup in the frequency of urinating.

Not only is this a great tasting way to take your medicine, it will also extend the time between buying more coffee, thereby saving you a couple extra dollars! I like to use that extra cash to buy plants…and potting soil, and pots, and seeds, and garden tools….O.K, so maybe it wont save me that much!

MMmmmmm.....

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