Burdock Root Stir Fry

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: Please note that it is illegal to dig up roots without the landowner’s permission. When harvesting burdock root, make sure that you gather it only from the first-year burdock. Second-year burdock is past its edibility prime and is not recommended as a foodstuff.

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 its sustainable food gathering.

Burdock Root Recipe – Step 1

Burdock Root Recipe

First off, find a nice patch of burdock.

Burdock Root Recipe – Step 2

Burdock Root Recipe

Reach down into the stems and push the foliage aside.

Burdock Root Recipe – Step 3

Burdock Root Recipe

As you can see the stems are very visible.

Burdock Root Recipe – Step 4

Burdock Root Recipe

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.

Burdock Root Recipe – Step 5

Burdock Root Recipe

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).

Burdock Root Recipe – Step 6

Burdock Root Recipe

In your kitchen, clean and trim the burdock roots.

Burdock Root Recipe – Step 7

Burdock Root Recipe

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

Burdock Root Recipe – Step 8

Burdock Root Recipe

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

Burdock Root Recipe – Step 9

Burdock Root Recipe

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.

Burdock Root Recipe – Step 10

Burdock Root Recipe

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.

Burdock Root Recipe – Step 11

Burdock Root Recipe

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.

Further Reading

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  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

    • This is what Robin said in his article “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 its sustainable food gathering.”

  4. How can I tell if the burdock root is first generation. Where can I get this burdock root first generation . I get mine at a natural foods store and there is no information. My whole family died of cancer. It’s just me left and I am 47. I am trying to do all I can to be healthy. I have questions other questions can we chat because how they suffered scares me. Really
    Kelly Ann Van Galen

    • Kelly – sorry to hear your family history, however you need to speak with a professional medical herbalist if you are concerned. First year burdock grows close to the ground, and doesn’t show a flower spike. Second year growth will have a skeleton, maybe with burs still on it so you’ll know that one is too old.

  5. I have been TRYING to rid my yard of these darn things for 5 years. I’ve pulled 14″ of 18″ roots out, and it still comes back. “Strip-mine” all you want… you’ll never be rid of them. Now I gotta try cooking with them.

  6. Find a recipe for London Porter (dark almost black beer similar to stout) chop 3oz of root to 5 gallon beer recipie and add when boiling the malt with the hops. Makes a lovely aromatic beer for dark winter nights.
    And I’ve also used it in a sugary glaze for venison or Lamb joints and even added it to a barbecue sauce excellent with gourmet wild boar or game sausages & burgers.
    Adds a delicious bouquet when cooking

    • I’d like to think I do Sebastian 😉 I’ve been teaching foraging for 10 years, and am immersed with plants on a daily basis writing, researching and experimenting with them. So it’s certainly not a hobby pursuit for me.

  7. I have planted burdock from seed a few years ago in a large pot. I’ve never eaten any of the plant as yet. It dies away each year and starts growing again in Spring. Is it ok for me to eat the roots each year in Autumn?

  8. If like me you are a big enthusiast regarding Burdock to ensure i havr more than enough roots to use in the kitchen throughput the season i grow a Japanese variety of Burdock, the seeds are available on websites like Chiltern seeds.
    They grow very well in deeply dug soil and the roots can be enormous.

  9. I found a plant in my yard that I think is a first year burdock. How do I know for sure? Are there any other plant similar to it? I don’t want to poison myself or my family.

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