Make Your Own Dandelion Bitters Tincture
Most of us can recognize a dandelion straight away. Its long green jagged leaves and yellow flowers are consistent company in our gardens, if not an unwelcome one in many cases.
If shouldn't be the case though. Dandelions long roots dig deep into the soil breaking up hard ground, drawing up important minerals from deep down below to improve the top soil. When their job is done, they stop growing. Isn't that magic?
I love these little rays of sunshine and certainly if I pull them up I like to put them to good use, as they are potent healers.
The leaves can be nibbled on, added to salads or used as a tea. The flowers added to iced drinks in the summer make a refreshing infusion and the roots also have a use to make bitters or a simple dandelion tincture.
When you harvest your dandelions affects how they will taste. If you pick in the Autumn the levels of the fiber inulin tend to be higher, whilst sugar is lower, but they taste bitter and chewy.
If you harvest in the spring the levels of taraxacin (the active constituent of dandelions that stimulates the liver and gall bladder are higher.
When you are harvesting roots with any plant the general rule is you want to do this prior to the plant flowering as it moves its energy from the roots to the flower.
In this modern world where we are barraged by toxic chemicals in the air we breathe and the food we eat, dandelion is a nice friend and support to have for your system.
It is a strong detoxifier so make sure you use the purest plants, ones that are growing away from pollution.
Just as when picking any plant for consumption choose one that looks large and vital and use a garden fork to gently work through the soil underneath the dandelion to prize it up by the root without snapping it.
I tend to use the roots on their own for tinctures and chop them up into 1 or 2 cm pieces after washing off the mud!
Making your tincture
Whilst you can use 40% alcohol for your tincture such as vodka I prefer to use local apple cider vinegar, which you can usually buy, from your local cider brewery.
You ideally do a ratio of 2:1 so 2 cups of alcohol/ACV to 1 of the chopped roots and leaves, make sure they are well covered.
Leave in a cool dark place for 2-3 months and strain off the plant matter before bottling.
As dandelion is a bitter it naturally stimulates digestion and stimulates bile production so it is a good idea to have 1 teaspoon diluted in a 2:1 warm water to tincture ratio prior to meals to have the greatest effect. It has a positive effect on reducing water retention and Urinary tract infections.
When you get more confident you can jazz up your recipe by adding things like Cacao nibs, orange peel, spices to your mix!