drinking the dandelions
Jules and I have given up coffee (mum gasps!). At first, it seemed like a horrible, completely-undoable thing to do. Especially since we have a beautiful Italian expresso machine that looks like she stepped straight out of the 1950s. And especially since we truly love our coffee.
But we’d been feeling as if coffee didn’t love us quite so much. I could only just manage two small cups a day – anymore and I felt as if my head could wobble off my shoulders and roll down the street. We both had irritable, upset tummies. Jules had an irritable head and trouble sleeping at night. And I … well, I have such anxiety at times that the skin edging my fingernails is most often raw and red.
After a bit of reading, it would seem that coffee was probably contributing to all of these things and more. The effect it has on our digestion and absorption of good food and its vitamins and minerals is terrible! All that effort we go to to eat wholesomely and coffee is grinding away inside us, undoing so much of the goodness.
So .. we went cold turkey. Saturday lunch time was our last coffee. Given I only drank two cups a day, I coped quite well – day 3 I had a cracking headache but that was it. Julian – he had been drinking several cups a day and oh he suffered!
Now, almost a week on, we’re doing fine. Julian especially. He is getting more sleep than he has been in years – and he even remembers his dreams – he says he hasn’t been able to recall his dreams for so long he can’t remember the last time. We’re both waking up clear headed and energetic. And because having coffee together was a really pleasant thing to share each day, we’ve substituted – dandelion root coffee. I bought some from the Balaclava health food store and we are percolating it in the old corningware stovetop pot.
Mmmmmmmm …. it’s so good. It’s clearly not coffee. But it’s rich and full bodied (how nescafe-corny does that sound!) with a lovely flavour. With a dash of cream it’s delicious. And we can have as many cups as we like! No caffeine.
I’ve been reading up on how it’s made – dandelion roots of course – from those dandelions that festoon our lawns. Amazing! We have heaps, so yesterday I plonked myself down in the lovely spring sun and dug and dug and dug. My tool … an old weeder we found in the garden bed – was okay, but not very prongy (most of the length had rusted and broken off) which meant that it was darn hard work to get the roots out whole, and the handle has been chewed which resulted in a sore red hand. I think a new one is in order.
Whilst I was digging, I could hear Sweetpea whimpering at the front door. She so longed to be out there with me, but our front garden has no gate and a very low fence and Sweetpea has a manic desire for the road – with tramtracks – and long, ferociously fast dashes down the footpath. So I put her on a long leash and then tied this to the front porch railing with a length of rope long enough for her to reach the front fence but no further. She had a marvellous time – she could explore every inch of the front garden but even better, she could stand up at the front fence, under the shade of the trees, and watch the world go by. She’s such a sweetie, everyone who walked past stopped to chat with her :-)
After exhausting one patch of the lawn, I’d think, “that’s it. wait ’til you get a new weeder.” And then I’d dig up a wonderful dandelion plant with roots like baby carrots and like a gambler after a win, I’d throw caution to the wind and attack another patch with enthusiasm. I learnt that those silly dandelions that pile up on top of each have rather lame roots. But the big ones, their leaves spread out like sundials, who have claimed their own home, are perfect.
I trimmed the roots off the leaves (which I didn’t realise we could eat until AFTER I’d put them in the compost), washed them repeatedly in a large bowl of water until the water ran clear, then sat in the afternoon spring sun and trimmed them up into 1 inch pieces.
We roasted them in a cast iron pan on 120 celsius for 2 hours – with the door open to allow moisture to escape. Then I ground them in the wee bamix bowl with the big blades. Now, they are in a jar awaiting tomorrow morning’s coffee – we’re curious to see how it goes. I think our current shop bought blend might be dandelion and chicory root (and so I have ordered chicory seed from Eden Seeds) but it’s all an experiment isn’t it :-)
I’ll let you know how it goes! Meanwhile, we are so glad we have ditched the coffee … and found dandelion root. And how marvellous if we can make our own! I might have to send Abby on dandelion hunting expeditions when their seeds set in the next few weeks. Then we can reseed our front lawn ’cause really, who needs grass! And dandelions sure are nicer than those wretched bindis.