Dandelions, Dandelions In My Tea?!?
Many years ago I contracted mono from a boyfriend. It was not any mono but a super bug version of mono which put me in the hospital for an extended stay and caused jaundice to my liver. This was way before I stared Tupelo Honey Teas but if you read my bio, was not too early in my life to use herbal remedies to help with ailments.
Insert Milk Thistle and Dandelion Root Teas.
I went on a round robin drinking regimen of Roasted Dandelion Root, Milk Thistle (in tea form) and water. What the doctor told me would take months of recovery took a mere 1 month. My liver enzymes went from being through the roof to normal in 30 days. He was amazed and asked what I did. I told him about the tea and my increased raw vegetable diet. I think his jaw hit the floor.
Each year as I see people walking around with chemical kegs strapped to their backs, spraying these beloved flowers, I want to stop the car and beat some sense into them. Not only are the chemicals bad for our land but even when used in non-food areas, they are finding their way into our food system. Plus, who would want to kill a super food like Dandelions?
Dandelion stems from an Middle English term Dent de Lioun which literally means Tooth of the Lion because of the jagged leaves. This “weed” has been used for centuries for its noble properties, such as its high concentration of Vitamins A, B, C and D. It is also high in Iron, Calcium and Potassium. The Flowers have been picked and made into wine. The leaves are often picked and added to salads raw or are stir fried in garlic and olive oil. But the roots are why this blog post is being written. The roots when roasted, make a delicious tea. The tea is a diuretic but because of the Potassium content, it is one of the best diuretics as it doesn’t deplete one’s Potassium. It also is a blood purifier and as such helps clean out the liver so it can do it’s job better.
The other day when prepping my garden for spring, I started pulling out the Dandelions which have already begun to set foot in my yard. They can be tricky suckers to pull out as they have a tap root, which means it is long and narrow. It burrows down deep and holds on for dear life. Survival of the fittest! I posted onto my personal Facebook page about how wonderful this little “weed” plant is and I got back a number of request for how to make tea from your back yard bounty.
Here is my account:
First, dig them out as whole as you can. This is tough and where you will get a wonderful bicep and other muscles you didn’t know you had work out.
Second, rinse them clean. This part is quite hard because the dirt really sticks in the root and the leaves.
Third, separate the leaves from the root. There is a weird middle part, where the flower will eventually emerge from. I cut that out so in the end my plant was cut into three parts; the leaves, the middle and the root.
Fourth, chop them into pieces and put them onto a baking pan.
Fifth, bake them at 200 degrees for an hour and then turn up the heat to 400 and roast them for about 20 minutes. Turn off your oven and leave them in until the oven cools down.
Sixth, take them out and they are ready to be made into tea.
During the baking process, the roots smell so sweet and delicious. After roasted, in tea form, they mimic coffee. This is due to the roasted nature of them. However, they do not have any caffeine. They do make you urinate quite often so it is not wise to take them before bed. As I learned the hard way, you pee A LOT! You can add some Chicory, which is also a tap root, to the mix and do a 50/50 blend and it will make it taste more like coffee. you can also choose to grind them or chop them smaller before roasting.
I hope you all enjoy the Wonderful World of Dandelions this spring! And if you choose not to, please leave them to flower. They are some of the first food bees get in the spring.
The Tea Lady