Last week I gathered Chicory on St. James’ Day. In order to use it to brew a coffee like drink, I had to roast it. Instructions on how to do so vary greatly. Some people advise drying the roots first, followed by chopping, roasting, and then grinding.
I’ve done it several ways, but here’s the method that works best for me. This method is especially nice if you don’t have a coffee grinder.
Dry the roots in a cool dry place. Small roots the diameter of a pencil dry in just a few days. Put dry roots on a cutting board and mince them the way you would garlic into coffee-ground size. Put them in the oven at 350° (I used a toaster oven) until they’re the color of coffee (just a few minutes). Be careful — they will smoke and burn! Allow to cool and store until ready to brew.
To brew, add about 1 tsp. of chicory to 1 cup very hot water and allow to steep for a couple of minutes. Pour through a regular coffee filter and enjoy. Or, if you gathered them on St. James’ Day at noon or midnight like I did, save them until you come up with a special ritual to surround their enjoyment. More to come next week.