Last weekend we got out onto the plot and did some serious work. Firstly, I dug the very last vegetable bed. I still need to create a decent path and shore up the raised bed with old floorboards. At least now we have five workable plots.
A by-product of the digging was the huge number of dandelion plants that I was able to remove, roots and all from the soil. I had such a pile that I thought I’d give a strange recipe a go: dandelion coffee. This was suggested to me by Andy Hamilton, who’s Booze for Free book is a must for all wanna-be brewers. This particular recipe is not alcoholic, sadly. Here's the method:
1. Gather your roots.
2. Wash the roots and cut away the leaves. Watch out for dock roots
3. Roast your roots in the oven until they are dark brown and dried out.
Once they were brown and dry, I took them out and let them cool down. They had a rather appealing malty/ovaltiney smell.
4. Break the roots up with your fingers then grind them in the coffee grounder. To extract the 'coffee' I used a simple filter paper device as below. Using boiling water, obviously.
The result was very pleasant – and, I have to disagree with Andy H – was very like mild coffee. A drop of milk and it made a lovely drink – plus it was good to know I’d put a tenacious weed to good use.
Subscribe to BBC Countryfile Magazine today and you can enjoy generous savings from the shop price plus, free UK delivery and discounts off special editions and back issues.