Tag Archives: tea

Dandelion Root Tea: A Tutorial

31 May

Well, it is definitely summer in Chicago.

I was so excited to start my first garden when we moved in with Jeremy’s parents.  They let me make up a big plot in the back of the yard that I tilled (with Jeremy’s help, of course), weeded, composted, and planted.  It’s beautiful and growing. 🙂

   

When they bought the house last year, the backyard was a mess.  It’s definitely getting there, but the focus is really on the house right now.  When I started working on my garden, the weeds were (and still are) threatening to take over.  The crazy amount of rain we’ve had lately is only making things grow faster.  I’m going to try my hardest to not use any chemicals back there as I’d like my herbs and vegetables to be as organic as possible.  This includes weed killer.

I’d been thinking about dandelion root tea for a while and the fact that I had all of these gigantic dandelion plants at my disposal made me want to try my hand at harvesting, drying, and storing roots for tea.

Dandelions have amazing properties.  It’s kind of funny that one of the most hated weeds is one of the best things you can give your body. Just one of God’s little jokes, I suppose. 🙂 My favorite tea property book gives them the subtitle “The Little Plant That Roars” (110). Besides being packed full of vitamins, iron, and potassium, dandelion roots are an epic detoxifier. They remove toxins, wastes, pollutants, and contaminants from joints, cools and cleans the liver, improves your mood, and cleanses your urinary tract.  Dandelion leaves are equally amazing, but we’ll save that for another post. 🙂

When it comes to harvesting your own dandelion roots, it’s important that you know exactly where the plants come from.  Don’t harvest from a place that has come into contact with animals or chemicals.  Harvesting from within or around your existing vegetable garden is ideal.

fresh from the garden

When you pick your dandelions, look for larger plants as that will often mean a larger, more advanced root system.  I use a large shovel to dig around and under the rooms.  Try not to break them off in the ground.

Dandelion roots will shrink approximately 25% when they’re dry, so you should always pick more than you think you need. 🙂

After you have a nice pile, cut your roots off just below the leaves.  Discard the leaves.  While it would be nice to use the leaves as well, large dandelion leaves are very bitter.  It’s best to compost them and search for smaller, new leaves at a later time.

Rinsing.

Next you’ll want to rinse your roots really well.  I use my thumb nail to peel the thin outer layer off, like you would a carrot.  For larger roots, you could use a vegetable peeler.  Get rid of the little hair roots as they don’t contain many nutrients and are pretty irritating.

 

 

 

 

 

Hey... that's not a dandelion....

Peeling the roots offers more than just a nice,

clean root to work with.  It will also show you if any of your roots don’t match the other.  Obviously this pretty green root is NOT a dandelion root. Discard that.

At this point, go ahead and preheat your oven.  Mine doesn’t go any lower than 170* F, but something around 150*F or so would be better.

Next, you’ll want to chop your roots up in to small pieces.  Much like mincing garlic.  You want them to be small and similarly sized so they’ll dry at the same pace.

 

Getting ready to shrink...

Once everything is nice and chopped, you’ll want to blot it as dry as possible with some paper towel.  Extra water will only make the drying process take longer.

Then spread your pieces on a cookie sheet.  Try to spread them out as much as possible.  Once this is done, pop them into the oven.  I’ve found them best way to dry things in the oven is to prop your oven door open slightly with a pot holder.  Jeremy insists this is a useless step, but I swear it works better this way. 😉

Let them sit in the oven for an hour or so and then use a spatula to stir everything up a little bit.  Spread it all back out and stick it back in the oven.  Stir your roots ever half hour or so until they are completely dry.  Sometimes, if I’m not completely sure if my roots are totally try, I’ll let them sit out overnight and check them again the next morning once they’re cool.  If your roots aren’t completely dried out, they’ll mold when you put them in an airtight container.

It’s ok if they get a  little over dried at first.  Some people actually dry, roast, and then grind dandelion roots to use as a coffee substitute.

Yum!

Once everything is dry and cooled, store your roots in an airtight container.  They should last up to a year.

Dandelion root tea is rather bitter if you’re not used to root teas.  I typically mix mine with dried baby dandelion leaves to boost the nutrition even more and give it a more springy taste. 🙂

Happy Drying!

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Loving My Masala Chai Tea

15 Nov

I am a tea enthusiast.  That’s right, I said it.

I was on my way home tonight when 6 very loud teenage girls stepped into my train car.  The whole car collectively let out a not so discrete groan. 😉 Of course.  I pointedly broke my number one train rule and put in my second earbud hoping to drown out the screaming and laughing.  It didn’t work.  Recognizing that I was once an irritating teenager as well (and still am on occasion), I consoled myself with the fact that the chalkboard labels that I ordered from Etsy were sitting in my mailbox waiting for an evening of organizational labeling.

organizing things makes me happy. 🙂

While finally putting order to my loose leaf tea collection, I decided make myself a pot of the Masala Chai tea I bought at Woodman’s a couple months ago.  I hadn’t tried it yet as I don’t normally like Chai tea and have been putting it off.  This one is surprisingly delicious though.  There’s a faint hint of cinnamon and citrus.  It’s not too strong and not at all bitter.  Win.
Not surprisingly, it doesn’t surpass the deliciousness of the new peach oolong that I bought from Special Teas .  It’s full of peach chunks… Mmmm. 🙂

Anywho, I love that picture and thought I’d share. 🙂

Off to Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.”  Yay…. 😉

Life, Ugh…

10 Nov

I’ve been in a little bit of a bad mood today.  I decided it was imperative to use one of my Jasmine Tea Blossoms that I bought in China since I finally have a glass mug to show it off.

I rarely use them, and even now can’t bring myself to finish the last little bit as the flower will crumple and such.  I’ll spend the rest of the day looking at it and then have to throw it away and the end of the day and it will be sad.

Why is my mood so poor today?  I’m worried about graduation.  I’m worried about what I’m going to do with my life after graduation.  5 years of college still hasn’t given me the slightest idea of something I can feasibly do.  I know what I want to do.  I want to teach literature and English to kids in other countries.  I want to write a book.  I want to knit.  I want to travel.  Each of those lofty goals requires me to wait, patient or impatient as I may be.

I was sitting in Sociology today, surfing around online as usual, when Professor Robert had us get into groups to discuss the movie we’ve spent the past week watching.  Its all about Jamaica’s economy and use/enslavement by the International World Bank and the World Trade Organization.  I have mixed views on those organizations, but I’m afraid between Political Science and Sociology this semester, my views are swinging into the negative as more underdeveloped countries are being used for production as the developed countries get ahead.  What really gets me is that these countries are slowly losing the rich cultures that have made them unique since the dawn of time.

But, that movie is neither here nor there right now.  I grouped up with Renée Farwell, who has spent an amazing amount of time in Ghana teaching, volunteering, and starting an organization that will care for and educate orphaned children.  Jealous.  This girl is seriously amazing.  She’s younger than me and has already begun this amazing adventure in her life.  She’ll graduate this spring and head back to Ghana to be with the kids whose lives she’s quickly changing.  She’s currently selling beaded bracelets the kids are making in order to fund the building of their new school.  How cute is that?

I’ve now realized that I am epically jealous and that knitting blankets for animal shelters, while still useful, in no way compares to the difference some people are able to make in the lives of others.
It makes me feel useless, like my life in no way is contributing to the good of mankind.   I have a desperate need to contribute.  Soon.

She’s a man, Baby!

5 Jul

I. Smell. Like. A. Man… Baby… 😉

Let me explain before your mind starts to run wild with the crazy ideas that I’m more than capable of.  I haven’t been hanging out in a gentleman’s club, not gone on any hot dates, nor am I exploring the possibility of a gender change (Kudos to you if you’ve been doing any of those, though 😉 ).

Alas, I’ve finally tried my black tea flavored bath dough.  Its great! – for your dad, boyfriend, son, brother, etc.  Not so much for me.  I’ll stick to my pink grapefruit.
Being the tea lover that I am, I thought for sure a black tea scent would be fabulous.  I’ll stick to sipping my peach tea (which I bought in Beijing and am currently out of, curses!).

I’ve been drinking a lot of jasmine tea lately until I find a replacement peach tea.  Every time I drink it,  I’m instantly transported back to Beijing and Xi’an, where jasmine tea was present at every. single. meal.  Sans sugar of course, which forced me to become a fan of unsweetened tea..  Since I hated Beijing, I like to focus on Xi’an.  Such a beautiful city.

Flowers get me every time...

Anywho, the summer is half over and I have no idea what I’ve been doing with myself…  Reading a lot.  Class.  Work.  Being lame.  I’ll work on changing that and get back to you.  😉

Night!