The days are longer and warmer- dandelions are popping up everywhere and I've been learning from below the soil. Their roots make for a tasty coffee alternative or an addition to herbal teas.
The thick taproots can grow very deep to get nutrients out of the soil. It's difficult to get them out of the ground and that's why these plants are often considered a weed to the garden. Personally I cannot get enough of dandelion's many benefits.
So what can you use dandelion for?
The easiest way is to eat the young leaves, flowers & flower buds raw in salads, but there are many other delicious ways to use this plant. Today I'll explain how to make coffee and honey with it!
If you like the taste of coffee but don't particularly enjoy caffeine, the roots are a wonderful substitute for making dandelion root coffee.
To make dandelion root coffee you should collect a fair amount of roots (or a few if you just want to try it). Best times to collect are either spring or autumn. You'll need to use something to dig the roots out with and preferably use mostly thick roots. Once you've got the roots you can chop them into slices and roast them in the oven until they smell and look roasted. Trust your intuition, just check every 10 minutes to see how they're doing. Let the roots cool and then they're ready to use! To make the coffee you can pour warm liquid over them or simmer them for a while, add milk and anything else you like in your coffee.
You can also create your very own honey with the flowers. Dandelions are very pollen rich and important for bees and other pollinators.
To make your own honey, collect the flowers and gently simmer for 20 minutes with water just covering them; you can add a few slices of lemon or lime. Leave the mixture to cool for 24 hours and then strain out the flowers and any added lemon. Now add enough sugar to cover the bottom of your pan and gently simmer until the liquid has visibly gone down. Don't put a lid on the pan. Pour into a sterilised jar and enjoy!
If you have any recommendations or know of other interesting ways to use this plant, please share and comment down below.