The scientific name for dandelions is "Taraxacum officinale;" "officinale" signifies the plant has medicinal properties. Although dandelions are often considered pesky and prolific weeds, their roots, leaves and flowers are edible and beneficial for your health. Dandelion roots have been used to help liver, kidney and digestive functions; as a laxative; to treat jaundice, anaemia, bladder infections and eczema; and to eliminate gallstones. Consult your doctor to inquire whether the consumption of dandelion root will interfere with any of your medications or conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome and acute inflammation.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Garden trowel
- Pots and pans
- Stir fry sauce or soup stock
- Ginger root
- Cinnamon powder
- Cardamom powder
- Baking tray
Harvest dandelion roots between the fall months and early spring. Plants that are at least two years old are more beneficial as they have a higher concentration of inulin, which is the medicinal component of the root. Identify dandelions by their long, lance-shaped leaves with symmetrical, deep "teeth." Leaves may be between 3 and 12 inches long and between one-half and 2 1/2 inches wide. Use a garden trowel with a pointed end to dig up the entire plant and taproot.
Shake the dirt off the dandelion roots. Wash only the roots that you are going to cook right away to prevent mould from developing. Store the remainder in glass jars in a dry and dark location. Dried roots can be stored for up to three years.
Parboil the dandelion roots to remove their bitter taste. Add roots to a separate pot or pan to use as an ingredient in a vegetarian or nonvegetarian soup or a stir fry. Dandelion root is best used in combination with sweeter-tasting vegetables.
Wash dandelion roots and pat them dry between layers of paper towel. Spread them out on a baking tray and roast them in the oven at 93.3 degrees Celsius for at least two hours. Add 8 cups of water, 2 cups of dandelion roots, 1 tbsp of cinnamon, 1 tbsp of sliced ginger root and 2 tbsp of cardamom seeds to a pot and simmer for 10 minutes on medium heat. Strain the mixture through a fine filter or sieve into another pot. Add 1 cup of milk and 1 tbsp of honey and heat the entire mixture on low heat; do not let it come to a boil. Drink it as a tea or wait until it cools down to drink it as an iced tea.
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