Foraging and Cooking Wild Burdock Roots


| 10/27/2015 9:41:00 AM


 

One person’s weeds are another person’s dinner, and burdock (Arctium) is a perfect example of this. Although it is routinely weeded out as an invasive species, in Japan it is cultivated as the delicious root vegetable gobo, and you can sometimes find it for sale as a gourmet ingredient at farmers’ markets. It is delicious in stir-fries (see recipe below).

Identifying and Harvesting Burdock

Burdock root can be harvested anytime from spring through fall. A burdock root is shaped like a slender carrot, but brown on the outside and a lighter color within.

In addition to being eaten as a vegetable, the root is also the part of the burdock plant that is usually used for medicine. Burdock roots have been taken internally as a blood purifier, digestive aid, and to treat chronic skin problems including psoriasis. They also have a reputation as being good for hangovers!



Burdock grows in sun or partial sunlight. It is a biennial that grows a rosette of leaves in its first year of growth, then flowers and goes to seed the following calendar year.



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