Hello friends, in this article I’m gonna guide you on the process of dehydrating marshmallow root. The other day, I harvested my marshmallow root and decided to dry it.
This is a first-time experience for me, as I have been primarily using the leaves and flowers of the marshmallow plant in my homemade remedies. The roots and leaves have similar benefits, but it’s widely believed that the roots have stronger medicinal properties.
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In this article:
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read): Key Takeaways
- 🌿 Marshmallow root is believed to have powerful medicinal benefits, especially when compared to the leaves, making it a popular choice in herbal remedies.
- 😊 Gardening releases endorphins and brings happiness, thanks to the enzymes found in the soil that have a positive effect on our mood.
- 🔥 Dehydrating marshmallow root can be done using a wood stove instead of an electric dehydrator, saving energy and wear and tear on the appliance.
- 🌿 Dehydrating marshmallow root can be used to make supplements for various purposes, highlighting its potential health benefits.
- 🤔 Vacuum sealing is an effective method for preserving marshmallow root, with minimal risk of losing the seal, except for very dry powdery ingredients.
- 🌿 Marshmallow root is not only good for digestive issues, but also has benefits for the skin, such as helping with eczema.
Understanding Marshmallow Root
The fascinating part about marshmallow root is its gelatinous property. After soaking it in homemade vinegar and water, it becomes very gooey and jelly-like.
This feature is what inspired the creation of marshmallows, as the root was originally used to give marshmallows their signature texture. Additionally, it’s worth noting that I also use marshmallow in my homemade soap because of its skin benefits.
Harvesting the Marshmallow Root
Marshmallow root is a plant that requires patience. I generally let them stay in the ground for two to three years before I start to dig them up. As I unearthed them, I noticed new growth, hinting that spring was just around the corner.
It’s been a year and a half since I dug up my first marshmallow root which turned out to be massive. You may recall the picture of me holding that big old massive root. Today, I’m working on digging up several more.
During its growing period, the marshmallow plant is quite lovely, blooming with beautiful white flowers. However, once the plant has finished growing, it leaves behind a dry stalk that must be cut down. Despite this, I still choose to keep a few plants in my backyard due to their beauty when in full bloom.
Propagation and Growth of Marshmallow Plants
If you wish to dig up your marshmallow root, aim to do so before the planting season, preferably with roots at least two years old. This gives the plant ample time to grow and establish.
Upon harvesting, you may find small offshoots of the main root. You can easily break these off and plant them to propagate new marshmallow plants. Simply plant these small roots in a pot and watch as a new plant starts to grow. Even if you’ve dug up the entire root, pieces left in the ground can sprout new growth.
From my experience, the way marshmallow grows is quite similar to horseradish, making it likely that it’ll regrow from any residual root left in the ground.
Processing the Marshmallow Root
The harvested marshmallow root is far easier to peel and slice than horseradish. The slices come out smooth and easy, allowing you to process the root swiftly.
You have a choice in how you want to cut your marshmallow root. If you want to pack more into a jar, you could chop it into smaller pieces in a blender. Alternatively, you can leave them in chunks, which is what I tend to do.
The inside of the root is a very pale white, reminiscent of a store-bought marshmallow. The flavor is mild, with a slight chewiness that is far more tender than a dandelion root or horseradish.
Preparation Process for Drying
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to prepare marshmallow root:
- Soak the marshmallow root for a while in a mixture of homemade vinegar and water.
- After soaking, you’ll notice the root becoming very gelatinous and gooey.
- Next, don’t bother to peel the root, especially the little pieces. There’s a lot of goodness in the skin that we want to preserve.
- Chop the root with the skins on, just like you would do with dandelion root.
- After chopping, spread the pieces out on a baking sheet for drying.
Contrary to what some might do, I don’t peel the marshmallow root, especially the smaller pieces. The skin is likely to have beneficial nutrients. The same approach is applied when handling dandelion roots; they’re rinsed in vinegar and water and then chopped up without peeling the skin.
Although we live in a clean society, getting our hands dirty in the soil, not overly washing our vegetables, and coming into contact with beneficial enzymes found in the soil, can contribute to our overall health.
Some of these enzymes can trigger the release of endorphins, which explains why gardening makes us happy. It’s truly an awesome gift from nature.
Chopping and Drying Marshmallow Root
After washing the marshmallow roots, start chopping them up and spread them on a baking sheet. A wood stove can be used for dehydrating, especially when there’s a good fire going. However, if you have an electric dehydrator, that could work just as well.
Here’s a useful tip: For smaller roots, it’s easier to lay about three strips at a time and chop them. For the bigger roots, chop them individually to avoid slipping. It’s also important to keep stirring the roots around and possibly turn your pan occasionally to ensure even drying.
Processing Marshmallow Root
Marshmallow root is slightly different from dandelion root due to its slimy texture. To get it to a small size suitable for tea or making marshmallows, let it dry a little bit, then process it in a blender. You can then return it to the wood stove to complete the drying process.
When processing the marshmallow root in a blender, it’s advised to put a small amount at a time, preferably the size of a large chunk. You can then transfer the processed root onto a new tray for drying. You may find that processing the root in the blender after it dries a little bit is easier because it’s not as messy.
Dehydrating Marshmallow Root
Dehydrating marshmallow root can be done using a wood stove or an electric dehydrator. If you’re using a wood stove, make sure to regularly check and stir the root pieces to prevent them from burning due to the intense heat.
Here’s the process:
- Start by placing your chopped root on a baking sheet.
- Put it near the wood stove, and allow it to dry out thoroughly.
- As it dries, stir it occasionally to promote even drying and prevent burning.
- Once the root is mostly dry, process it in a blender until it’s at a size suitable for your needs. For instance, if you plan to use it in tea or making marshmallows, you’ll want to ensure it’s finely chopped.
- After blending, return the root to the wood stove to let it finish drying.
Another way to dehydrate marshmallow root is by placing it on a cotton fabric or parchment paper. This is especially useful when drying smaller herbs.
Storing Dehydrated Marshmallow Root
Once the marshmallow root is dry, let it cool off before storing it. To keep the root preserved for longer, use a vacuum-sealed jar (or get a vacuum sealer here). After vacuum sealing the jar, add the lid and band to further secure the content.
With all that done, you will have successfully dried your marshmallow root ready for use in various applications. As a reminder, the marshmallow plant offers multiple health benefits, especially for the digestive system and skin. It’s also beneficial for addressing certain issues such as eczema.
Remember, always wait until the root is completely cooled before storing it to prevent any unwanted moisture from getting into your jar.
Health Benefits of Marshmallow Root
Marshmallow root offers several health benefits. It’s known to be incredibly beneficial for your digestive system due to its soothing properties on the mucous membranes.
It’s also useful for skin health, helping with conditions like eczema. If you’re interested in learning more about the health benefits of marshmallow root, check out my other videos for detailed information.
Uses of the Marshmallow Root
Though this article mainly focuses on marshmallow root, the rest of the plant is just as beneficial. I’ve harvested and dried marshmallow leaves, using them for teas and infusing oils for homemade skin creams.
Marshmallow root is not only medicinal but also edible. You can use it as a starchy vegetable, akin to a potato substitute. I’ve tried frying some larger chunks in coconut oil and seasoning them with salt, which turned out quite tasty.
Keep in mind that marshmallow root will turn slimy when cooked in water, similar to okra. This gelatinous property is what makes marshmallows excellent for soothing the throat and mucous membranes.
When it comes to using the root for teas, tinctures, syrups, and the like, I don’t bother peeling it. Simply cutting them into smaller pieces is enough. Once cut, they dry up very quickly. I like to dehydrate them on a stoneware baking sheet placed on my drying rack over the wood stove.
The fresh leaves and flowers are excellent in salads or as a green addition to stir-fries or soups. The plant’s versatility is one reason why marshmallow is one of my favorite herbs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is dried marshmallow root?
Marshmallow root comes from the marshmallow plant, Althaea officinalis, a perennial herb that is native to parts of Europe, Northern Africa, and Western Asia. The root is dried and used for various medicinal purposes, ranging from digestive issues to skin conditions.
How do you use dried marshmallow root?
Dried marshmallow root can be used in a variety of ways. It is often infused in water to make a tea or decoction. Alternatively, it can be ground into a powder and used as a supplement, or it can be incorporated into creams for topical use.
Does marshmallow root help with dehydration?
Marshmallow root can help soothe dry, irritated tissues internally, such as those in the throat and digestive tract. However, it should not replace the consumption of water or other hydrating fluids, as it is not a source of hydration itself.
What are the side effects of marshmallow root?
Marshmallow root is generally considered safe for most people. However, it may cause some side effects, such as allergic reactions, particularly in people who are allergic to plants in the Malvaceae family.
It may also lower blood sugar levels and interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgical procedures. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.
Can I use marshmallow root for a sore throat?
Yes, marshmallow root is known for its soothing properties. Drinking a tea made from marshmallow root can help alleviate sore throat symptoms. However, it’s recommended to consult a healthcare professional if symptoms persist.
This process offers a great way to harness the power of marshmallow root, providing a versatile ingredient for your homemade remedies or simply as a calming and soothing herbal tea.
Also, getting your hands a little dirty and working with natural ingredients like marshmallow root is a satisfying process that connects you back to the earth. Happy dehydrating!
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