Dandelion & Burdock has been around in the British Isles since 1265AD and shares a historical origin with a number of drinks originally made from lightly fermented root extracts, such as root beer and sarsaparilla.
The best story regarding its origin is that St Thomas Aquinas, after a hard night's praying, stumbled out in the dawn and, "trusting in God to Provide" brewed a concoction from the first two plants he encountered. He attributed this new brew with the power to increase concentration.
The last of the UK's original Temperance Bars, Fitzpatrick's in Rawtenstall, which opened in 1890, still produces its dandelion and burdock to an original recipe brought over from Ireland at the end of the 19th century.
Although still on sale today, the drink rarely contains either plant, it is often carbonated, containing artificial sweeteners and flavourings. Some supermarkets sell the drink with 'real plant extracts' with a more faithful flavour than the ones made with artificial flavourings
The good news is that, given the plants, the beverage is easy enough to make at home. Both plants have a multitude of uses in their own right, but together make something really special. For a little extra kick, try adding a drop of gin to your 'D&B'
Dandelion - Taraxacum officinale.
Dandelion is reviled by lawn manicurists yet, (like Burdock) it is one of the most esteemed herbs in healing. The benefits are endless, from digestive disorders to skin complaints. The dandelion family were first mentioned in China in the Tang Materia Medica back in the 7th century. It has featured in just about every herbal written throughout the world since!
The young raw leaves can be used in salads or cooked as a vegetable, like spinach. Dandelion blossoms add a hot, sunny flavour to salads. The leaves make a good tonic tea, whilst the roots make a rather nice, caffeine free coffee substitute.
Burdock takinogawa - Arctium lappa:.
Burdock is native to temperate Europe and Asia and a most popular variety root vegetable in Japan. “Takinogawa” is a special, late-variety burdock that is rich in flavour. This important Japanese vegetable is essential to many classic Japanese dishes including "kimpira," made with sautéed burdock and carrots.
The tap root can be as long as a metre long (36in), they have a texture similar to parsnips and when cooked quickly, retain their crispiness; the outer skin is very thin, similar to carrots.
The key flavour profile is anise, perhaps a touch of ginger and spice, but generally a feel of summer, hedgerows and fun!
The Dandelion & Burdock Recipe.
Known as, Dandelion and Burdock Tea, Cordial or Beer, or just 'D&B', there are many recipes available, using either dried or fresh roots of both plants, and a variety of other ingredients giving a range of subtle taste differences.
We have been asked by a number of people, to find the recipe recently shown on television, so if you have the time and inclination a little experimenting with various recipes and ingredients might be fun!
The River Cottage “Dandelion and Burdock Recipe”
by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall
2 large Burdock roots
2 Dandelion roots
4.5 litres/1 gallon of water
500g/1lb caster sugar
2 tbs black treacle
Juice of 1 lemon
Wipe the roots clean and cut off their leaves.; cut the roots into small pieces. Put the chopped roots into a pan with 2.2 litres/4 pints water and boil for 30 minutes.
Add the sugar, treacle and lemon juice to the rest of the water in a large pan and simmer. After 30 minutes, strain off the roots and leave the liquid to cool.
Meanwhile, mix the yeast with some warm water so it starts fermenting. When the root liquid is tepid, add the yeast. Leave it to ferment in the bucket for 3-4 days. Put into bottles and drink after a week.
The recipe has been taken from Hugh’s new book “A Cook on the Wild Side”
for it and other recipes from the series, see www.rivercottage.net
- Additional Information
Common Name Two Beverage Packs