22 April 2012

dandelion coffee

I've known for a while that it's possible to make a drink out of roasted Dandelion roots that tastes like coffee. It doesn't have caffeine, and is chock full of nutrients (vitamins A, C, D, five kinds of vitamin B, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc!) I've been very curious to try making some, but a bit dubious too, from the last time I tried eating something in my yard that I didn't plant there (I don't like purslane). But we have so much dandelion in the yard, and in one spot it has been growing where I used to garden, mulched heavily with leaves. My daughter has convinced me to clear that spot again for pumpkins, so I figured it was a good place to dig dandelions to try this. They come up easy, and they've had lots of rich stuff to grow in.

It's a bit of work. I spent probably twenty minutes digging up dandelions, slicing off the leaves to compost, the flowers and buds to throw out. Then it took lots of rinses to get the soil off them. Here they are washed and trimmed.
Next I chopped them up, rinsed a few more times
and then roasted in the oven at 250 for two hours.
I was pleasantly surprised at the rich aroma. At first it just smelled like carrots, if a bit more nutty. It wasn't until the final twenty minutes of roasting that the coffee-like scent came out. The next step is to grind the roasted bits further, and I steeped it in my french press, just like coffee. Treated it like coffee too, with sugar and milk (I don't like the bitterness). It doesn't quite taste like coffee and has a sharp aftertaste, but I found I rather liked it.
The first time I made it I used a cup of boiled water and a tablespoon of ground dandelion root. The second time I made it I added a pinch of cinnamon and a tiny piece of clove. It tasted better, but still not quite right. I think if I go to the trouble of digging dandelion roots again, I need to roast them longer to get the good flavor.

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