You don’t always have to turn to big tea brands when you want a tasty cup of the hot beverage. Make your own delicious and nutritious concoction out of pesky weeds in your garden. Instead of waging a frustrating and nearly pointless battle against dandelions, read on to learn how to make dandelion tea.
Growing Dandelions for Tea
Our ancestors knew a thing or two about natural health and how to use nature’s bounty to heal all manner of ailments. Dandelion herbal tea was a constant in many homes and all parts of the plant are edible. It has some potential to benefit cancer patients, improves liver health, and contains numerous nutrients and antioxidant properties. Plus, it’s free (making it a godsend to thrifty individuals) and tasty.
If you aren’t worried about the plants taking over, grow your own dandelions. The easiest way is to let some of the flowers come into seed and take them off the plant. Sprinkle seeds in the selected area and dust over with some soil.
Another way of growing dandelions for tea is to only harvest a part of the root. Any leftover root in the soil will re-sprout and produce a new plant very quickly. This is a maddening trait of the weed for gardeners who do not desire the plant but makes it easy for those of us who have had a taste of homemade dandelion tea and want a ready supply.
Don’t use chemicals in any area in which you will be harvesting.
How to Harvest Dandelions for Tea
Since all parts of the plant are edible, you first need to harvest plant material. Harvest from an area that is pesticide and herbicide-free. The leaves and flowers make a delicate, lightly flavored tea, while the roots have a more potent taste. You can use leaves as a tea or fresh in salads to add a punch of Vitamin C.
The flowers need to be harvested when the petals are fresh and brightly yellow. Flowers are also tasty dipped in batter and deep-fried. Roots should be harvested in the fall and gently coaxed out of the soil. Wash any harvested plant parts carefully before proceeding to process them for dandelion herbal tea.
Dandelion Tea Recipe
Everyone has a slightly different dandelion tea recipe. Some only use the roots and prefer them roasted. This is sometimes called dandelion coffee and results in a deeper, sweeter tea. A roasted dandelion tea recipe has you roast them on a baking sheet at 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 C.) for two to three hours. Turn the roots regularly to prevent burning. Roots should snap sharply when bent. Either grind the roots or snap into small pieces and steep in hot water for 20 minutes.
You can also chop fresh roots and just cover them with boiling water for one minute before straining out the root. Another instant version can be made with boiling water and washed flower petals or leaves. Steep the plant parts in boiled water for a couple of minutes and then strain them out or leave them, whichever you prefer.