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Edible Burdock Root Recipe

Burdock (Arctium) root is a tasty addition to a stir fry. You can use either Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa) or Lesser Burdock (Arctium minus).

IMPORTANT: When harvesting burdock root, make sure that you gather it only from first year burdock. Second year burdock is past its edibility prime and is not recommended as a food stuff.

Also make sure when collecting Burdock that you harvest from an area that is flush with the plant. Never completely harvest the whole patch, always leave some plants to continue to grow. Remember this isn’t strip-mining it’s sustainable food gathering.

Step 1

First off, find a nice patch of burdock.

Step 2

Reach down into the stems and push the foliage aside.

Step 3

As you can see the stems are very visible.

Step 4

Dig straight down uncovering the root as you go. The root can be very long, so take care not to dig in your spade and chop off the root before you have got to the bottom of it.

Step 5

Take enough plants to last you a mean. In the picture above, I harvested enough burdock for a stir fry and to make a herbal decoction (medicine).

Step 6

In your kitchen, clean and trim the burdock roots.

Step 7

Now peel the skin off just like you would a carrot.

Step 8

Place peeled burdock roots into a bowl of water with a cap full of cider vinegar. This prevents the root from discolouring.

Step 9

When ready to cook, slice the root into matchstick pieces, along with some carrot. Amounts will vary depending on how many people you are feeding. I use the same amount of burdock root as I do carrot for each person.

Step 10

Fry the burdock root and carrot in a heavy frying pan or wok. Add a small amount of Tamari or Soya Sauce, and continue stir frying your dish. Mine took between 5 to 7 minutes until it was ready.

Step 11

What I like is for the dish to slightly caramelise, but play with the recipe.

Burdock root is also nice peeled, sliced and eaten raw with a little sea salt. I find it reminds me of raw celeriac.

About the Author Robin Harford

Robin is a forager and self-taught ethnobotanist. He specialises in wild edible plants and has been running foraging courses throughout the UK since 2008. He travels extensively documenting and recording the traditional and local uses of wild food plants in indigenous cultures.

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Leave a Comment:

Toxophilus says

Great pics, very helpful. Are the second year roots worthwhile gathering for medicinal purposes? Is there a way to determine the age of the plant? Thank you!

Robin Harford says

I don’t know about medicine making. First year the plant grows close to the ground in a rosette and has no stem. Also once burdock has produced a stem and burrs, then that is the second year.

Anne says

It says first year. How do you get it from year to year? I have a small patch for the first time, it just showed up. Are you saying I must use it all this year? How would I get a forever patch?

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