'The bitter element'
I'd like to get your ideas on this concept, and have lots of questions about particular bitters.
A few years ago the manager of a health food store told me something I've been pondering ever since. He was Lebanese and said the North American diet lacked 'the bitter element' - we're addicted to sweet and salty, mainly - and this led to a lot of ill health. He said that when he used lemon juice for a salad, for instance, he always included some pits, and ate these for their bitterness. What do you think?
This year I'm growing chicory, dandelions and radicchio in the garden and eating a couple of leaves every day (even the very bitter mature ones) for a tonic. Since I started eating the leaves I can 'feel' the bitterness somehow toning my liver, the way exercise tones muscles. This leads me to wonder whether adding 'bitter' to the diet could be the missing link in the cure for alcoholism?
Is there any reason not to eat the mature leaves - is too bitter a bad thing?
Is it best to let dandelions flower if you're going to use the roots for coffee? We already have hundreds we've let self-seed from last year, because we always dig some up, but enough is enough.
Do you wait until a frost has hit dandelions before digging them? Some sites say yes, some no.
Dandelion leaves are bitter but coffee made from the root isn't, yet it's the coffee that's recommended for liver tonic. Leaves are recommended as a good source of iron. Why is this?
When do you harvest chicory for coffee? Does frost help?
Does anybody have experience with Maria Treben's Swedish bitters? A friend of ours swears by them. They're supposed to help or cure every condition under the sun. She wants us to grow the herbs/roots, or as many as will grow in this zone, and sell them to her to make the tincture. Ideas?