I have seen quite a few claims that it is possible to get red dye from dandelion root in print. But not usually with any detailed instructions. In Craft of the Dyer Karen Casselman said she had tried numerous times without success to get red from dandelion root. She invited readers to write in if they knew how it could be done. I don’t know how it can be done. But when I started growing Chicory ‘Red Dandelion’ the stems and leaf ribs were such a vibrant deep red I promised myself I would try it out just in case.
Many a happy dinner has come from this plant! When I harvested the root the plants were huge, and full of blue flowers, and falling all over other vegetables, at more promising stages in their life cycles. Out came the chicory, destined to become chicken happiness. Here are the roots, just as unpromising looking as dandelion roots (in the matter of red dye at any rate).
Chopped and soaking:
After an hour of cooking:
Those roots had not released any colour at all. So–one more dead end in the mystery of red dye from dandelion roots… There is a dyer on Ravelry who says she has achieved red from a specific dandelion by a cold ammonia process… but her description is not like any dandelion I have seen here so far…