Monday, September 28, 2009

The annual dandelion coffee dig

It took awhile for me to get hooked on dandelion coffee. First, I read about it and thought about it for awhile, then one day I dug up a dandelion root and tried to roast it. It was just one root and it was too early in the year, so it barely made enough for one cup. It didn't taste too bad, but seemed like a lot of trouble, so when I came across Traditional Medicinal's Dandelion Tea (same thing), I bought a box of it. By the time I'd finished that box, I was hooked.

Determined not to spend money on something I can do myself, I dug a few more, then read up some more. Finally realizing that fall was the best time to dig them (d'uh... it's the best time to dig most roots because they've been storing food all summer), I dug a whole pan full of dandelion roots, washed, scrubbed, trimmed and roasted them.

Still... it seemed like a lot of work. Until I realized that I didn't have to scrape off all the hair roots and I didn't have to clean them under running water and that a vegetable scrub brush worked great to get the dirt off.

Three changes of water, but a lot faster than the first few times, I now have a pan of dandelion roots roasting in the oven. I will dig more tomorrow or the next day, until the little area I let "go to the weeds" is cleared of dandelions - for this year, anyway.

If you want to dig dandelion roots and try it, wet the soil thoroughly before you begin and give it an hour or so to soak in. The first reason is to make digging easier, but secondly, to keep the roots from breaking off so short. Dandelions grow a very, very long taproot and that's what you're after, but you won't get it all, not when it can grow several feet into the ground. That's what makes dandelions so hard to kill permanently.

Don't tell anyone, but I'm glad of that. If it could have been poisoned or dug out of this area, it would have been long before I got here. I let it grow for three years before trying to use it, to minimize the possibility of poisons.

I use a stove top percolator to make my dandelion coffee in, and since I only drink one cup or two at the most, each day, I have been thinking of making a full pot and freezing it in one cup portions. It seems to make more sense, but I'll have to see.

If you haven't tried it, think of it this way. It's free; it stores well, and it's good... that is, if you like it. Try it. Maybe you can cut the cost of coffee by having dandelion coffee part of the time. Oh - no caffeine and it has lots of minerals. It's good for your liver, gall bladder and will help overcome jaundice. It's a gentle diuretic, but won't deplete your body of potassium, like pharmaceutical diuretics do.

Best of all, it's an enjoyable drink with a deep, robust flavor that fairly sings of autumn!


  1. I know of an Italian woman who picks her dandelions and makes wine out of them. Very good too!

  2. Oh, yes, dandelion wine is well known! ;) I don't drink wine, so don't make it, but I do eat the blossoms and the buds and the leaves. They're all very good and good for you.