Avid wildcrafter and medicinal herb farmer Michael Pilarski shares how to process Lomatium dissectum.
Step 1. Spray wash roots. We sometimes dry brush roots before shipping and sometimes we thoroughly spray wash them. If they are not spray washed, that is step one. A hose with a good nozzle will work.
Step 2. Cut off all side roots. I cut off damaged ends and use the rest. Cut up into short pieces. Usually I do this before shipping fresh root to customers
Step 3. Cut off the crowns (tops), and divide them up so you can get at all the dirt between the closely packed stems . Wash again and cut them up into short pieces (1/2 inch thick) discarding the very tips. All white flesh is good.
Step 4. Cut the main roots into slices. You need a big, sharp knife. If you don’t have a knife big enough you can cut the root in half vertically and lay the flat side down and then you only have half the root to slice through. If the roots are too big for you to slice with a knife use a short, sharp bowsaw. Half inch thick pieces. ¾ inch max.
** Important, wear gloves when handling and cutting Lomatium roots. The sap can blister skin on some people. I use thick rubber gloves.
If making a fresh root tincture I further cube up the slices into approximately half-inch cubes.
To dry the big slices lay one layer on the drying screen without touching one another. Big slices touching one another will delay the drying. If the dryer is not hot enough or the screen too far from the heat source the roots can mold or turn green before being dry. If you are short on dryer space rotate the most done roots, which are closer to the heat source, up and get the moist ones surface dry at least. Once cut it is important to get a dry surface on the slices asap. Usually happens in 12 hours or so. This is in a dryer. Don’t try air drying as you will likely have to throw it away.
The thick slices are done when they do not give when squeezed and “ring” when thunked. Be most cautious with the thickest slices. Make sure they are thoroughly dry.
Side root pieces and crown pieces can touch one another and be in a layer about one-inch thick. Easier to tell when they are dry. They dry quicker than slices.
Once dry the roots are relatively soft and can be broken down further if so desired for the product. If being stored for later use, make sure they can’t rehydrate.