Dandelion’s Bitter History
Thank you spring herbs! They crop up bright and early, enticing us to eat them, which serves to eliminate the build-up of winter toxins, and positions our system for fresh nutrient intake.
The logic of nature is undeniable, with Dandelion greens being one of spring’s medicinal glories- bitter and tonifying, delicious sautéed or added to smoothies and salads. But did you know that Dandelion is also a key ingredient in “Bitters”, the herbal concoction called for in classic American cocktails? Using Dandelion in a drink sheds light on our customs for pre-dining beverages, with so many historically rooted in preventative medicine.
The original Bitters recipe is simple to make and great to have on hand at home: dandelion root, burdock, ginger and orange peel infused in vodka, then strained and stored to be added to a favorite cocktail. Never consumed “neat”, Bitters is added by the dash and was a key ingredient in the original Martini. (I love Bitters in sparkling water with fresh mint and a slice of orange). However you take it, bitters is a tremendous aid to digestion, preparing the system for food and nutrient intake, while opening the flavor pallet to the enjoyment of a meal.
For more information and a good read on Bitter’s rich lore and legend, check out ” Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All” by Brad Parsons.