Dandelion Chai Tea, Ginger Root Juice, and a Remedy for Cold and Flu
Winter is coming and my thoughts are turning to warm drinks and preventing seasonal illnesses. In years past, I have enjoyed making my Dandelion Chai Tea for adventurous folks who are willing to give it a try. Most of them have been surprised to find that they really like it. Since I use roasted dandelion root as the base, there is no caffeine. The ingredients in this tea each have their own health benefits, so I consider it to be a very healthy winter beverage!
Dandelion Chai Tea Recipe
Before you begin, please note:
- The amounts in this recipe are not exact. Play with the amounts until you find what tastes best to you. I make it different each time.
- The amount of time the tea steeps makes a big difference in flavor as well.
- It is easier to make this tea in a sauce pan.
- Leftover tea keeps nicely right on the stove for several hours, or refrigerate and use within a couple of days. This recipe is for 2 quarts of tea.
- It is important to use whole spices, not powdered because the powder will make your tea very slimy.
- Read on for instructions for roasting your own dandelion root and drying ginger root pulp. If you do not want to make your own dandelion root, you can buy roasted dandelion root tea bags. Traditional Medicinals makes a good one. It is what I use when I run out of my own. Just be sure that you are buying roasted root, not root and leaf.
- 2 quarts water
- 3-4 tea bags or 4 Tbsp dried root roasted dandelion root
- 1 tablespoon ginger root
- 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cardamom pods
- 2 sticks cinnamon sticks, 6" long
- 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon anise seed, (optional)
- to taste maple syrup, (optional)
- to taste milk or cream, (optional)
- sprinkle cinnamon sugar, (optional)
- Add water to a sauce pan.
- Add dandelion root and spices.
- Cover and bring to a boil.
- Allow to boil for 2-3 minutes or simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. Then turn off heat and allow to steep. The tea will get stronger as it sits. I have even allowed it to sit on the stove overnight! But if you are in a hurry, steeping until it is cool enough to drink will suffice.
- Strain as you pour it into a mug. Leave room for maple syrup (we make our own) and milk (add to taste).
- Finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar (I use cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in my sugar mix).
How to Roast Dandelion Roots
Before we can roast them, we need to dig them up. Please be sure you know how to identify a dandelion before digging up the roots for consumption. That is easiest to do in the spring when the ground is very wet. If you have a wet fall, that may work as well. Dandelion roots break off easily, so it is necessary to dig deep to get them out. They can be pulled out more easily if the ground is soft and wet. They are longer than you might expect! I have joked that I should give up gardening and just grow weeds! As far as Dandelions go, that could really work!
Once you have your roots, wash them as best you can. Then you will need to shred them. You can use a food processor or perhaps a blender for this. Or, in a pinch, cut them as small as possible. Then spread them on a cookie sheet and place them in the oven. Bake them at 200 degrees until they are dry and brown. You might want to leave your oven door open a crack to allow moisture to escape. How long the drying process takes depends on how much shredded root you have, how spread out it is on the tray and how wet it is to begin with… along with differences in altitude and the type of oven you have, etc. So, I can’t really tell you how long it will take. Probably somewhere between 10 minutes and an hour. Just keep an eye on it. You can store your dried root in an airtight container in the cupboard.
Don’t Waste the Rest of the Dandelion!
Dandelion flowers and leaves are edible as well! The leaves tend to be pretty bitter, but can be steamed and eaten. Or they can be dried for tea. The flowers can be made into dandelion fritters. Make a batter of flour (gluten free if necessary), salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder mixed with a little milk or water. You may add an egg if you wish. Rinse your dandelion blossoms and coat with batter. Then fry in a pan. You may use oil (I like avocado or sunflower) or butter, or whatever you like to fry foods in. Take them out and place on a plate. I put a paper towel under them to catch some of the oil. My kids love these!
Juicing a Ginger Root
Ginger is so good for us! It helps digestive ills and is great for preventing and fighting illness. You can buy ginger root in most grocery stores. Or grow your own! You can actually just plant pieces of ginger root from the store and it will grow! It takes a long time to grow a big enough root for our purposes though. You want a decent-sized root at least half the size of your hand. Rinse it and chop it into small pieces. Then put it in your food processor or blender and pulverize it as much as possible. Place the pulp in cheesecloth and squeeze out as much of the juice as you can into a bowl. Place the juice in dark tincture bottle and keep in the fridge. We will talk about how to use it in a minute.
Now, take the pulp and spread it out on a cookie sheet. Place it in the oven. In this case, our goal is to dry the ginger, not roast it. So you can set the oven to it’s lowest setting (usually 170 degrees). Leave the door cracked and allow your pulp to dry completely. Once it has cooled, keep it in an airtight container in the cupboard. You can use this in your tea. Or you can boil the pulp, strain it, and keep the liquid. Add sugar and seltzer water to the liquid and you have an amazing home-made ginger ale!
A Recipe for Cold and Flu
Ginger root juice is one ingredient in a concoction that I make whenever we fear getting sick, start getting sick, or plan to be around a lot of people in the winter. The other ingredients are: Olba’s Cough Syrup (basically honey with a bunch of Swiss herbs that help support the immune system), liquid Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE), and Elderberry Tincture (I make my own). Elderberry is anti-viral. Grapefruit Seed Extract seems to fight a number of bad bugs. And the Olba's supports the immune system.
- 2 teaspoons Olba’s
- ½ teaspoon Ginger Root Juice
- 2 droppers Elderberry Tincture
- 10 drops (not droppers!) liquid Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)
Stir together in a medicine cup and drink.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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© 2019 Amanda Buck