For centuries, dandelion has been used as both a food and a medicine in Europe and China. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Americans began looking at the common weed as a food source and for fermenting into an affordable wine. All parts of the dandelion are edible, from the flowers to the root. Flowers are used for wine, the leaves for salads or as a potherb and the roots can be roasted and used to supplement or substitute for ground coffee.
Harvest the Roots
Dig up one or more dandelion plants with a shovel. Place the shovel blade 4 to 6 inches away from the base of the weed and digging to a depth of 6 inches all the way around the plant.
Shake off loose dirt from the dandelion root ball.
Cut the weed leaves and flower heads off the roots. Set these aside, if desired, for wine or salads.
Wash the root under cold, running water to remove dirt and grime.
Chop the root into small pieces, much as if you would chop herbs or scallions for cooking. Place the root on newspaper to absorb any remaining moisture.
Roasting the Root
Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Do not add oil to the skillet.
Place the chopped dandelion root in the hot skillet.
Stir the root in the skillet until it turns a golden brown--roughly 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the root on newspaper or paper towels to cool.
Grind the roasted roots in a coffee grinder to a ground coffee-like consistency. Mix the roasted dandelion roots with fresh coffee to reduce the amount of coffee grounds used. You can also use only the ground roots to substitute for fresh coffee grounds.
About this Author
G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.