Dandelions have an immense amount of nutrients and up until the early 1900's were actually planted in garden beds for not only their beauty but for their medicinal properties. Fast forward to now and they're a problematic eyesore for a lot of people. While there's nothing wrong with getting rid of them, why not use them for good and get a free nutritional boost in your day by utilizing them.
First and foremost always harvest from unsprayed areas, areas that pets haven't frequented, and of course don't go trespassing. It's a good idea to take a plant identification book with you if you're headed into the woods to gather. It's handy for a quick identification for misc plants you might encounter on your journey! However I know most of you will just take a scroll into your yard which is why this is so much fun and so easy! Don't forget to keep a few left so your local bees have pollen.
1. Correctly identify your plant and then start by loosening up the soil around the root. Dandelions have a large and long tap root that can break easily if you pull too hard so just go nice and slow.
2. Once you've gathered up your plants, cut the tops (use the greens in salads or my favorite; sautee up with a bit of garlic and oil), pop the flowers (if you're havesting a lot in one day go ahead and dry the flower tops for tea later on) and take a bristle brush to the roots. I usually wash mine about 5 times before getting all the dirt off.
3. Roughly cut the roots into 1/4 inch pieces and lengthwise and either leave on a wire rack to dry for a week OR put into a dehydrator on lowest setting for 2-4 hours.
4. Once your roots have dried out roughly chop the roots even smaller ( if you harvested large roots and can't chop a VERY quick whirl in the food processor will get them down to size) and lay out on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Heat oven to 200 degrees and allow to roast for 30 minutes. Be sure to keep this temp as these will burn easily. You're looking for a slightly darker color and a gorgeous roasted smell. Let the oven cool and heat oven to 180 degrees and roast again for 5 minutes.
5. Once done add them to a coffee grinder and grind to a size appropriate for your favorite brewing method. 6 tbsp : 2 cups plus 1 tbsp of water is a good starting point!
Add whatever spices, tea, fruit or even add a bit to replace a tbsp of your coffee. The sky is the limit!
Some Health Benefits of Dandelion Roots:
Via WebMD; "Dandelion is used for loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones, joint pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises"