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Burdock Root Recipes

All parts of Burdock (Arctium minus) are edible, but in my opinion the roots are the best part. In some areas they are grown commercially as a vegetable and Burdock roots are popular in Japanese cooking where they are known as gobo.

Photo 1: This is the stage at which to harvest Burdock root.

You want roots from first year plants (Photo 1); once the Burdock has started to send up its flowering stem in the second year, much of the food value of the root is gone. To get the long taproot, you can either dig a deep hole beside the plant and then pull it laterally into the opening, or carefully make a ring around the plant with your shovel and remove the soil between this and the Burdock until you can pull the root out (Photo 2).

Photo 2: Burdock has a deep tap root that will take a sharp shovel and careful digging to excavate.

Some people prefer to leave the skin on, but I find I can never get all the dirt out of the nooks and crannies and so end up with something gritty. I prefer to wash and peel them (Photo 3). The top few inches will be tough, and you can cut that wider part away. Burdock roots oxidize very quickly once cut or peeled, so it’s helpful to have a bowl of vinegar water handy that you can put them into as you go.

Photo 3: Burdock root washed and peeled.

Smaller roots or the narrow tips of larger roots are nice raw – crunchy and a bit radish-like. You can slice and boil larger roots as you would carrot or parsnip, or julienne and toss into stir fries. I prefer them roasted (Photo 4, recipe below).

Kate’s Roasted Burdock Roots

1-3 large Burdock roots

1-2 tsp sesame oil (or substitute oil of choice)

Salt and pepper to taste

Bowl of fresh water with a bit of vinegar added.

Pre-heat over to 400F and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Wash your Burdock roots well, peel, and slice into ½ inch rounds. Place peeled and cut roots into the vinegar water as you work to prevent them from turning dark. Once ready, drain the roots, pat dry, and toss in sesame oil. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook for 20-30 minutes, turning once halfway through. Season to taste and enjoy!

Photo 4: Roasted Burdock root.

Burdock Root Tea

You can make tea from fresh or dried Burdock roots. For fresh, wash, peel, and grate one Burdock root and add to one litre of boiling water. Simmer for 10 minutes and then remove from heat and let steep 15-20 minutes. To dry Burdock root, wash, peel, and cut into small pieces. Place in a dehydrator or the oven on the lowest setting for 3-4 hours until completely dry (it will be quite hard when dry). You can then grind 1-2 tsp as needed per cup of tea.

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