Every Monday, I pull out a meaningful quote from one of the great books or articles I'm reading (or re-reading) and share it with you. Like last week, today I'm sharing from Wilderness Cooking by Berndt Burglund and Clare E. Bolsby. It was written in 1973 by a husband and wife team who are wilderness experts, having spent their lives studying and teaching woodland lore. The bookjacket declares Mr. Berglund to be one of North America's foremost authorities on wilderness life and survival.
Chapter 11 is entitled “Wilderness Beverages” and in it, the authors share more than a dozen beverages created by fruits, berries and roots. They write,
“After a certain length of time in the wilderness, the craving for any kind of beverage other than water soon gets the upper hand. The early settlers soon learned to take advantage of Mother Nature's richly stocked pantry, and the Indians had for generations utilized many fruits, berries and roots to make palatable drinks.
The favorite drink in the north woods is tea, followed by strong brewed coffee. Not surprisingly, the tea and coffee you carry are the first of your supplies to run out.
But if you know wild plants, substitutes can easily be made with plants that are probably growing all around you. We would like to mention the most common plants which can be used to great advantage by the woodsman on lengthy wilderness trips or on trips where packing has to be kept to a bare minimum.”
Then they list a number of beverages that can be made from fruits, berries and roots. Here's the one I want to tell you about:
The root of this common plant is used even today as an adjuct to coffee to give it a deeper color and a more lasting flavor and aroma. Chicory is a native of Europe and probably was imported as an impurity with seeds the settlers brought with them.
Chicory roots from spring-planted seeds are dried and then roasted and ground. This makes a good hot drink and was frequently used by the settlers. The addition of maple sugar vastly improves the flavor of this kind of coffee.”
Interestingly, my children and I brewed some chicory root tea last week and it was delicious! We used 1 teaspoon of roasted, ground chicory root per cup of “coffee” and we sweetened our drinks with honey. Chicory root is one of the main ingredients in the Teeccino Herbal Coffees (which are yummy!). And chicory root is one of the ingredients in the Daily Health Herb Tea recipe that a friend shared with us. Now I've figured out why that tea is as warming and rich as coffee!
According to an herb book I have, chicory root helps to cleanse the blood and improves the health of the liver. Frontier Herbs points out that chicory root is very high in Vitamin C, but it is most notable for what it does rather than what it contains. The special carbohydrates in it (inulin and oligofructoses)
“feed the symbiotic bacteria living in the intestine rather than the human body itself. They allow the healthy bacteria in the colon to produce short chain fatty acids that help prevent colon cancer, but they do not serve as a food source of pathogenic bacteria. The bacterial fermentation of fructans in the intestine changes its chemistry so that the human body absorbs calcium and magnesium much more readily from other foods, so much so that consuming endive and similar vegetables demonstrably builds stronger bones. These complex sugars also lower cholesterol and triglycerides.”
What do you think? Are you game to try some chicory root coffee? Have you read anything interesting lately?
Note: The book link in this post is an affiliate link to Amazon.com. If you choose to buy the book via my link, I'll earn a commission. But I don't care about that too much. The point of this post is for us to share inspirational words. That's my sincere disclaimer. Thanks for reading.
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