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27 February 2013

Forget Green Tea! Let's Have Some DANDELION Tea!

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Spring is coming...soon soon soon!  Before long the grass will start greening and the leaves will start their slow open to the sun and those pesky little dandelions will be popping up all over the lawn.  What to do?  EAT THEM!  Actually, you are going to drink them....

So first things first, you are going to need some dandelions. Yes I reallu said dandelion. As in the little yellow pesky flowers that your neighbor is trying to eradicate with an arsenal of chemicals. They are edible and the bitter can kind of tame the sweet of some dishes. I like to use the blooms in a hibiscus tea. The tea is sugared and the hibiscus has kind of a naturally sweet taste, so the undercurrent of slightly bitter dandelion works well.

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Served hot or cold, I like this tea for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  
It is sweet and herbal, but the dandelion adds that depth of flavor with a little touch of bitter.

The trick to the dandelions is to pick them when the little yellow flowers first appear.  You want as much of the yellow flower, and as little of the white seed as possible.  Grab the flower at the base and pull the yellow petals out.  They will come apart as individual petals and separate completely when cooked.

Here's the story on the hibiscus.  I bought a giant bag of them when we were in Mexico (Click here to read more about the Mexican Market -- hanging chickens and all!)  without knowing exactly what they were.  They smelled amazing and the vendors at the market assured me they were great as tea.  Of course, this was all over a HUGE language barrier, so the first time I tried this tea, I was a little wary, but was happily surprised with the taste.  Of course, then someone mentioned that hibiscus doesn't have a scent, so I thought that they might be roses.  A bit more research later and I learned that they are in fact a Mexican hibiscus.  Of course, I didn't really care what they were - they were delicious!   You can find them at local natural food stores or on amazon in bulk.  The best price I found is this option from Davidson's.



Here she is brewing!  I make a giant pot of tea, chill the batches in pitchers and then warm up individual cups for hot tea or just pour straight over ice for iced.  Want the recipe?  Here goes!

Dandelion & Hibiscus Tea
This recipe is based on personal taste.  Taste as you go to get the right amount of sugar!

1-2 Cups of fresh Dandelions  Start with 1 cup and then up it to two if you want more flavor. 
(or start with 2 T of dried dandelion leaves and up it to add more bitterness to the brew depending on your tastes)

2-3 cups dried Hibiscus
1 cup of sugar
Fill an 8 qt stock pot with water  Stop about 2-3 inches from the top
(I added 2 black tea bags as well for a bit of dark flavor, but omit them to skimp on caffeine)

Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring as you go a few times to keep ingredients from sticking to the pan.  Once the water boils, reduce the heat until it is just barely simmering.  Let it go until your house smells amazing (15 minutes or longer to brew a stronger tea).

Let the mixture cool, then strain all the solids out, squeezing the flowers to get all the flavor out.  When cooled, pour into pitchers and chill.


Now go pour yourself a cup of tea, sit back and relax...ahhhhh...

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3 COMMENTS:

Jenny Piirto Thursday, February 28, 2013  

Spring means Iced Tea! I might have to try the dandelion variety, my kids will love collecting them for something useful. I also love your jar mug. I've been collecting those all winter on my thrifting trips. Everything tastes so much better out of them!

Unknown Friday, March 01, 2013  

Hot cup of tea is my go-to after dinner beverage every night! I've never had hibiscus tea and love the idea of brewing my own tea flavors. Very inspiring and informational post! Think I can find dried hibiscus at Whole Foods?

Amy Renea Friday, March 01, 2013  

I agree Jenny -- those mugs are my FAV! For hot and cold anything...picnics all summer long...and then storage all winter :)

As far as sourcing the hibiscus - whole foods might carry them, but I'm not sure! A lot of bulk food stores have them -- trader joes might as well -- thanks for commenting!

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