Monday, November 7, 2011

Health Benefits of Dandelion and How to Make Dandelion Coffee

Dandelion Taraxacum officinale is a common herb we often overlook. For many gardeners, dandelion is a "problem weed" ruining their lawn, but for herbalists, dandelions are a rich source of vitamins (including A and C), minerals (iron and calcium), and detox supports.

Dandelion is a great herb for everyday nutrition. You can add to milder salad blends, like red leaf lettuce, or blend with other bitter herbs, like endive and chicory. To add dandelion into your diet, follow these tips:
  • Gather the leaves when young, before they have flowered in spring
  • Collect from a spray-free area, away from the road, or in your own organic garden
  • After flowering, cut the plant back to the top of the roots, and then harvest the new growth
  • Harvest or grow dandelions in shade for the least bitter flavor
  • The dandelions seen in stores are often Italian dandelions, which are more bitter than the domestic variety
Dandelion’s distinctive taste is refreshing served in sandwiches, with vinaigrette dressing, with meats, cheeses, and pasta, and in tomato sauces. It also makes a flavorful, healthy alternative to coffee.

To make your own dandelion coffee:
  • Wash the roots, slice lengthwise in half, and then air dry for several days
  • Cut the roots into 1-inch sections and roast on a baking sheet at 375˚F for 2-4 hours
  • Turn the roots regularly so they brown evenly
There should be a coffee-like odor coming from the oven by the time they are done. Grind as needed, and use in place of coffee beans.

Fresh-made dandelion coffee makes a great gift, too! So the next time you're invited to a dinner party or need a last-minute-present, package some dandelion coffee in an attractive, air-tight jar and share with friends and family.

What are your favorite ways to eat dandelion? Post your favorite dandelion recipes here! We look forward to tasting your recipes.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Great post. I have heard of dandelion coffee; I also am curious about the futher uses of dandelion. People should think twice before removing them from their yards (I keep mine; the bees also appreciate them)!