For more recipes, check out The Dandelion Celebration, A guide to Unexpected Cuisine by Peter Gail, available from Goosefoot Acres Press, PO Box 18016, Cleveland OH 44118-0016, ph (216) 932-2145. Also Tom's Dandelion Page
Both dandelion and chickory roots can be used as a coffee substitute. They can also be added to coffee in order to stretch the coffee over the week. They can be used alone or blended together.
Can be used for both dandelion and chickory roots. Harvest the roots and wash them gently, then slice and allow to dry. A dehydrator is a good tool for this as roots take longer to dry than other plant parts. Place the dried roots on a cookie sheet in a 200°F oven and roast till a deep brown. Store in glass jars as-is and, when ready to use, grind into a fine powder using a coffee mill. For each cup of beverage, add a cup of boiling water to each tsp of the powder.
For Dandelion root: you will need to improvise a steamer. I use a large mesh screen spatter shield that will fit over a skillet of boiling water. It is inexpensive, easily available and comes in handy in the kitchen. Harvest the roots and wash them, being careful not to bruise them. Get the water boiling in the skillet because the next step must be done quickly. Slice the roots and place immediately on the screen placed over the water. Continue to steam slices till the root stops seeping its milky substance. At that point remove the slices and allow to cool till they can be handled easily. Cut them into smaller pieces and dry them using a dehydrator or else air dry them, but it will take much longer. When dry, roast them lightly at 200°F to 225°F till a deep brown. They may be stored in this form and then powdered in a coffee mill when desired for usage. For optimum taste, grind fresh for each use. To use, add one level tsp per iron-close teabag (available from herbalware retailers) or use the same amount in a diffuser. Allow to steep for 5 min or till desired taste is reached.
4 cups opened dandelion blossoms
¼ cup cornmeal
¼ cup unbleached flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
Wash flowers. Add cornmeal, flour, salt and pepper and stir well. Saute the coated blossoms in the olive oil, turning often till crispy. Serve with a side of rice and wild greens.
Version 1: Collect 6 quarts of dandelion flowers. Spread out on newspapers for a few hours to allow bugs to crawl off. Wash the flowers, remove the petals and place in a crock. Pour 3 quarts of boiling water over the flowers, then cover for 24 hours to make a strong tea. Strain the liquid into a large stainless steel, enamel or other non-reactive material pot. Add 1 orange (quartered), ½ of a lemon cut into 2 or 3 pieces and 1 tsp of crushed fresh ginger root. Boil this combination for 30 minutes, then strain. To this hot liquid add 2 and 2/3 cups of sugar. Stir till sugar is well-dissolved. Pour liquid into a sterile crock.
When liquid has cooled to lukewarm, stir in 1¼ tsp dry yeast which has been dissolved in a small amount of the warm liquid. Add the dissolved yeast mixture to the crock and stir in well. Cover with muslin and use a large rubber band to hold the cloth over the top of the crock. (You can also use a large jug with a fermentation lock and wine yeast). Allow to sit while the mixture works or bubbles (this is the fermentation stage). This will take about 10 days and it will not be attractive to look at.
When the mixture has finished working and seems pretty quiet and still, siphon off the liquid into a large bottle or jug (fish tank tubing works well). Siphon off the upper portion without disturbing the sediment at the bottom. Place a rubber balloon over the top of the bottle (this allows for any residual gaseous action which would pop a cap off the bottle). After one month, either siphon or carefully pour off the top liquid, avoiding the sediment, and bottle and cork. Allow to age at least 6 months before using.
Version 2: Collect 1 gallon of flower heads and remove the petals. Place petals in crock and pour over them 3 quarts of boiling water. Leave to soak for seven days, well covered, and stir daily. Strain and wring out fairly tightly and return the liquid to the crock. Boil 1½ lbs sugar in 1 pint of water and when cool, add to the liquid. Add 1 oz of yeast and the juice of 2 lemons. Cover and ferment for seven days. Then pour carefully into a gallon jar, leaving as much sediment behind as you can. After this, boil another 1½ lbs sugar in 1 pint of water and when cool add to the liquid. Cover neck with muslin or a fermentation lock and leave till all fermentation has ceased. Bottle as in version 1.