Coffee and cycling go hand in hand. For some, cycling to a café for a rewarding caffeine hit is enough of an excuse to hop on your bike, for others cycling the country lanes, garden trowel in hand, looking for a weed to brew is motivation enough!
Dandelions (pissy-beds if you’re from Ireland!) are a very common plant and are widely found all over the world. Nowadays, it is considered an invasive weed to be stamped out but in the past it was used for cooking, medicine, and drinks. There is evidence to show that it was cultivated in many medieval sites.
It’s a very versatile plant. The leaves can be used in salads and the flowers used to make wine. The roots are used as a vegetable or, for this blog update, a caffeine-free coffee substitute. It has many health benefits and is particularly good for the kidney and liver. It helps to promote digestion and is packed with vitamins and minerals.
The best time to harvest dandelion roots is from late Autumn to early Spring when the roots are full after storing the energy they received during the warmer Summer months.
Dandelions can be found by the road side, in grasslands, and in open woodland. They prefer moist soil that gets a fair amount of sun. Their roots can reach far down into the ground, so try and gently coax the whole plant up using a garden trowel and your hands.
Make sure the roots are roasted through and are thoroughly dry and brittle to the touch. Grind with your coffee grinder or mortar and pestle and brew as you would normally brew your coffee. If the coffee is a little bitter for your taste buds add a little sugar or honey.
For more information on foraging while cycling check out our other posts. Free Food! , Cycling can be thirsty work, drinking tea can be free! and Foraging while cycling!
*When picking dandelions for consumption, make sure you choose plants that are free from pesticides, fertilisers, and sprays.