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Survival Skills: How to Make Chicory Root Coffee in the Field

Hunting

Survival Skills: How to Make Chicory Root Coffee in the Field

We all have our vices. There’s always that one thing that we just can’t live without. Or so we think. So what happens if your dark master is the coffee bean, and you get stranded without its rich and flavorful brew? Luckily, there is a weed that can be used to make a pretty darn good—albeit caffeine-free—facsimile.

Chicory Coffee

The humble and often scorned chicory is a plant that is so common and so hardy that you’ll even see it growing in the cracks of the sidewalk, not to mention most lawns and fields across America. Chicory is full of surprises too. In addition to being edible from flower to root (raw or cooked), it also makes a coffee flavored beverage.

I know, it’s hard to believe that you can turn weed roots into java. It seems as unlikely as turning lead into gold. But unlike alchemy, weed root coffee making is real.

To get started, find yourself a patch of chicory where no one has recently sprayed any weed killer or other poisons. Be certain that it’s chicory by selecting plants that are starting to produce the classic chicory leaves, with attached dead stalks from the previous year. Thanks to our mild winter, the leaves are out earlier than normal this year. For further proof of identity, any broken chicory leaves or stems should exude a slightly milky sap. The leaves should be relatively hairless, with no teeth or small teeth. As with all edible plants, use a field guide for confirmation, and if in doubt, DON’T use it.

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