Dandelion Roots

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Method

Dandelion roots should be dug in the winter. Choose year-old plants as the roots will have attained a decent size and should be slightly less bitter than younger specimens.

The name ‘dandelion coffee’ is a misnomer as the drink made from the roots is not and does not taste like coffee; however, it is quite a palatable drink that can be taken in place of coffee or tea.

Having collected a good supply of roots, clean them well and then dry them for about two days over a radiator or in an airing cupboard. Cut the dried roots into 1 cm (½ in) lengths and roast them; I do it in the pan under the grill. Make sure to turn them to get an even roast because just as with coffee you can make the flavour stronger by roasting them to a darker colour. Grind in an ordinary coffee grinder and make up a jug using the sort of quantity you would use for instant coffee. Strain as you pour into cups. The flavour is nutty and rather bitter. I need a little sugar but then I have sugar in tea as well. They will keep in the unground, roasted state in a sealed jar.

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