Delightful Dandelions: Part 4 – The Roots


In the spring time, we enjoyed the greens.  All summer we made use of the flowers.  Now that it is autumn and are putting the garden to rest, it is time to harvest the roots.

Native to Europe, Asia, and North America, dandelions and their roots have been used medicinally for hundreds of years for stomach ailments, to help liver and gallbladder functions, urinary tract infections, constipation, and as an immune system booster.  Newer research shows that ingesting dandelion root may also stabilize blood sugar levels as well as lessen bodily inflammation.  Those wanting to cut out caffeine also can use roasted dandelion root tea as a substitute for coffee.

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Dandelion tap roots run deep within the soil.  Because of this, harvesting the whole root can be very difficult; the root can be up to 2 feet in length!   Using a weeding tool such as the Dutch spiral weeder or Deep Tap Root Remover, gently work around the plant to loosen the root from the soil.  When it is loose enough, give it a good tug to remove the root.  Wash the root and lay on paper towels or a clean cloth to dry.  Once dried, the roots can be roasted in the oven.  Cut the roots into 2 inch pieces and place them on a baking sheet.  Roast the roots for up to 2 hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit,  turning with a spatula every 15 or 20 minutes.  Once cooled, the roots can be ground down in a food processor and stored for use in an airtight container.  Use in a tea ball or in your coffee pot as you would coffee.

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Of course if you want to save yourself some time and effort, you can always buy a store bought version.

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Sources:

Garden Herbs, The Gardener’s Handbook, Barnes and Nobles Books, 2003

Dandelion

How to Roast Dandelion Root