O.K. I'm new around here and to the perma scene in general, but I really like what I'm learning.
A few days ago I decided to try something different. Yes you know where I'm heading with this, I went out picking dandelions. I figured that I would just start with dandy root "beverage". So I dug up some roots (some as thick as my finger!), soaked them in several changes of water, cut them up and soaked them a few more times. I spread them evenly over a baking pan, put them in the oven at 250, dried them to a nice brown (wow do they shrink), and thought "Hey, so far so good!". I then threw the pieces into the coffee grinder to chop em up a little more. The consistency was some powder all the way to extra large grind.
To make the beverage I boiled a cup of water, threw in the same amount as I would for coffee, let it steep for at least 10 minutes (looking for the water to darken), and "voila!" I thought, "this is easy!".
Let me try to explain the taste... hmm... it had a certain... PUKE TASTE!
What did I do wrong? Could anyone give me some pointers?
I was taught by my grandparents that you picked the root in the fall for a coffee substitute, but I was young enough that I never questioned them why you pick in the fall. We never have lot of dandelions left, the leaves for salads and the flowers for syrup. I leave the roots so they will keep coming back with young leaves for salads.
I found a couple of sites that also state to pick in autumn, but they do not go into any details why.
We have used the recipe from the attached link for the last two years. Last year my Wife humored me when I made one batch that produced just under a quart, she must have liked it a lot because she told everyone about it and she even helped me make 5 quarts this year. She wanted to make more but we got rain, rain, and more rain until we lost all of the flowers, so I should be satisfied with 5 quarts.
sevenseeker wrote: What did I do wrong? Could anyone give me some pointers?
could be you've got the wrong plant. are you quite sure you dug up dandelions? there are a number of plants that look similar. I don't mean to suggest that you're incompetent, just trying to get to the bottom of your bad taste.
When you say tasted like "puke" do you really mean that it tasted like stomach acid and bile, or were you using the term as a descriptor to express your displeasure at the taste. The first time that I ever drank coffee as a young child I thought it tasted horrible, first time I drank beer, same thing, first time I smoked a cigarette I almost vomited. Now I love all of those things and relish in the flavor of tobacco, super hoppy beer and the bitterest black coffee you can imagine. Perhaps it is just something new and you were not expecting the taste and you have to learn to get into it. Then again . . .maybe you did something wrong, or you should try using fall roots or whatever. It sure seems strange that I couldn't stand any of those things and yet I still kept doing it and now I love them. I should have trusted my instincts and never have adopted smoking because it's really hard to quit . ..
@ tel jetson Yes it was for sure Dandelion, we have many many of em around here, and their pretty hard to mix up. I think there is only 1 other plant around here that even remotely looks alike.
@ Tardyviking Its getting harder to remember what it tasted like now, but as I recall, it actually did remind me of acid and bile. Being 30 I've tasted (and enjoyed) many different things, and I was quite surprised and disgusted.
I'll try again in the fall. Unfortunately the yard where I got these has been sprayed this year, since it was turning into a meadow of grass and dandelion, so I'll have to find another source.
As far as the hot beverage, I have had this once with young roots, it was very bitter & I did not like it.
But her are some ideas if your into experimenting, younger roots, roast them less & steep them less.
FYI- perhaps the puke taste is like papaya? an enzyme that tastes gross but is good for digestion.
When next you try dandelion greens try this, 2 days before you harvest cover the leaves with news paper or burlap, I'm told that they will be less bitter if you keep the light off them for a day or 2, then try dressing them with good olive oil, garlic & balsamic vinegar & top with some Gorgonzola.
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