Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, has been a potent ally of mine for many years now. I have grown fond of finding this plant where ever I go, growing up through cracks in the sidewalk, near compost heaps, and now here on the farm. She is an integral part of our garden, growing here and there along side our vegetables and medicinal herbs. This past fall, I was delighted to dig some of our incredible garden, dandelion root to make vinegar. What a blessing.
For many years now, I have been reading and hearing more and more about the value of nourishing the digestive system to bring optimum health to our immune system, nervous system and more. Dandelion root (also burdock root, elecampane root and a few others) have within them something called inulin. This starchy substance nourishes the gut flora and helps to create a healthy environment in the intestines. Apple cider vinegar extracts the inulin well.
I am inspired to share here the story of how to make Dandelion Root-Nourishing Herbal Vinegar from beginning to end. It is really not difficult to find places, even in the city where you can dig this root.
When I set out to harvest plants, I ask their permission before I do. In mid-November, this dandelion root has said “Yes”. After the fall equinox, the energy of the plants moves down into its roots. Digging the dandelion roots in the early part of fall insures that you will extract plenty of inulin.
When we dig plants up by the roots, we give death.
I dug up about 7 plants on that November day. Once all the plants are dug, I wash the dirt off with the “jet”
spray on the garden hose. Then they are ready to bring inside and cut up for vinegar. I washed them a bit more once in my kitchen.
I cut the leaves off the roots once inside. It is best to only extract one part of the plant in each preparation. You can use the leaves in salad or soup if they look vibrant and healthy like these do.
I chopped up the root as small as I could, to get the most potent herbal vinegar.
I filled this glass canning jar, about 2/3 full of the dandelion root. Then filled it again with apple cider vinegar. I put a lid on it and shook it up and down.
I labeled my newly crafted jars of dandelion root vinegar with name of plant, the date and anything else that I may wish to remember; a connection I had with plant, perhaps my harvesting spot, and moon sign, especially if it is on a new or full moon.
This dandelion root-nourishing herbal vinegar preparation sat for six weeks, in a cool place away from direct sunlight. By January 1st it was ready to strain.
My tools for straining herbs:
- A two quart glass pitcher.
- A sieve that will hold at least a quart of plant pieces.
- A dish towel or in this case a handkerchief.
The Dandelion has offered forth her gifts into the vinegar. The cloudiness is the starchy inulin.
Dandelion is the Wise Woman’s Plant. The women that came from Europe did not want to be without her. They collected the seeds from their ancestral lands and put them in their pockets.
Dandelion Root ~ Nourishing Herbal Vinegar, bottled and ready for the market.
Dandelion nourishes the gut flora, yes. It also nourishes the liver, urinary tract system and lymphatic system. Dandelion moves energy. Dandelion is a digestive bitter.
Dandelion Root is best dug between the fall and spring equinox. You can also chop it up and put it in soup or roast it and make a wonderful brew that tastes like chocolate when you add honey.
May it be in beauty.