openeth the passages of the urine both in young and old [eek!]; powerfully cleanseth imposthumes and inward ulcers in the urinary passages [double eek!], and by its drying and temperate quality doth afterwards heal them; for which purpose the decoction of the roots or leaves in white wine, or the leaves chopped as pot herbs with a few alisanders, and boiled in their broth, are very effectual.As it happens, the passages of my urine have been in pretty good fettle of recent years, so I haven't been in dire need of a dandelion and alisander soup. However. Ever since the weather killed my first tea plant (a genuine Camellia sinensis, frizzled by a Melbourne heatwave) and then the chickens killed my second tea plant (not maliciously; it just happened to be where they wanted to excavate), I've gotten crazily enthusiastic about tea alternatives that are within my limited horticultural reach. And that means - besides lemon verbena and peppermint and lemongrass and raspberry leaf - dandelion root. What dandelion root tea lacks in caffeine it more than makes up for in a pleasing ... brownness. (How am I going? Talked you into giving up coffee for dandelions yet?)
The best time to harvest dandelion roots, I've learnt from grim experience, is before they flower (as with any root vegetable, the energy stored in the root gets used up in the flowering). We had a burst of dandelion flowering around September, but the next generation is yet to bloom, so this afternoon, with the soil good and soft from rain, I seized my opportunity to hoik up this fine assembly of rooticles.
You could probably brew with them as is, but I'm inclined to chop them up into 1cm lengths and plonk 'em in the oven for 15 minutes or toast them in a dry fry pan. The toasting seems to caramelise the sugars (starches?) in the root which makes these little niblets rather tasty.
They're ready now for my Dandelion Soy Latte deluxe. It's a thing. Sounds slightly more impressive than wee tea. You just plonk a teaspoonful of these into a tea strainer, steep it in your warmed and frothed liquid of preference, add honey if you like, and Bob's your nuncle.
P.S. more weeds for dinner. The mucilaginous mallow of the Malvaceae family has been springing merrily out of the compost I spread around my vegums. Imho, the best thing to do with a weed in the vegum patch is eat it (cf. nettles). Here, therefore, are some mallow leaves (centre) posing with some Murraya koenigii/curry leaves (left) and some cardamom leaves (rightish, downish) before being plonked into tonight's chickpea ragout. The leaves, stem, flowers, etc of the mallow are all edible, and quite an acceptable cooked green, particularly good in a casserole or something that benefits from a bit of thickening.
P.P.S. Tim wishes it to be known that he has brewed dandelion root ale. And lo it was good.
P.P.P.S. this post brought to you by the word "plonk", which I note I have now used four times.