Flowers & Blooms

How to Harvest and Prepare Dandelion Roots I

Many people want to get rid of dandelion from their gardens. They see it as almost a weed. Others, however, wish to grow and use dandelion. Dandelions are very beautiful plants and they can be used in many different ways.

Dandelion roots are great and can be used in many different ways. In order to get the most of them, it’s important to know how to harvest dandelion roots, how to dry them and how to use them.

Why Harvest Dandelion Roots?

Dandelion roots can be very useful, so if you have dandelions in your garden, consider leaving them to grow. They have beautiful flowers and you can always use their roots in your home.

Keep in mind that dandelion roots are harvested from late fall through early spring. During this time, the plant is dormant and has a lot of stored up energy in the roots. If you wish to take dandelion roots for medical use, it’s best to go with a fall harvest. That’s because the levels of inulin (insoluble fiber) are high and the fructose levels are low.

Cold weather during winter converts inulin to fructose. It makes the spring roots more palatable for eating. It also makes spring roots less bitter and chewy. To ensure this, you need to dig them before the plant starts to blossom. Another advantage to spring roots is that they are higher in taraxacin, which will help stimulate bile production.

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How to Harvest Dandelion Roots

It’s relatively easy to harvest dandelion roots, but you need to be careful. The best way to dig the roots is to use a dandelion digger. If you don’t have it, simply use a sturdy fork. It will do a good job if you are careful.

While you’re digging, make sure not to break or damage the root. You will probably need to dig and break somewhere, but do your best to damage the root as little as possible. If the damage is big, you will lose a lot of sap. Keep in mind that the medical properties are mainly located in the sap, so it’s important to keep it.

The thickest and easiest roots to harvest are those in deep, rich soil. To achieve this type of soil, you should always keep a few dandelions in your garden. They are great for reaching deep into the soil and they will sure bring up nutrients.

While harvesting the roots, make sure to do it only in the areas that have not been spayed or treated with chemicals. This is the only way to ensure that the roots are healthy and suitable for use.

It’s important to select only large, vigorous plants. Remember: small plants that are spindly have small roots that are not really worth harvesting.

Preserving Dandelion Roots

Once you have harvested dandelion roots, it’s important to know how to preserve them. Keep in mind that you might wish to use fresh roots from time to time. For example, you may use them for cooking and making medicines straight away.

However, you will probably want to store and preserve dandelion roots for further usage. Drying works the best for preserving the roots. Make sure they are well scrubbed before you cut them. In case you encounter some really thick roots, make sure to slice them lengthwise into strips. The strips should be of uniform thickness in order to decrease the drying time and also to encourage uniform drying.

To dry the roots, it’s best to use a commercial dehydrator. The dehydrator can be used to dry the roots at 95 degrees F until brittle. Alternatively, you may dry roots by spreading them on a screen and placing them in a cool, dry location. Make sure they have a good air circulation. Dry the roots for 3 to 14 days, until brittle.

Keep in mind that dried dandelion roots can last for about a year.

Photo credit: MacMurdo via photopin cc