I have never had any experience with burdock.  Once again, Melana to the rescue!

Brenda Nolen


Burdock (Arctium Species)

As a kid in the Midwest my brothers and I where basically wild animals foraging off the land every summer. I cannot imagine growing up any other way than being totally free to harass mother nature to our full extent. I remember from those days the huge leaves of the burdock plant being a welcome substitute for the toilet paper we always forgot to bring along on our fishing trips. Even then I had a feeling this plant was good for something else, and I remember my delight the first time I read a recipe with burdock as the main ingredient.

Burdock, (Arctium minus, A. lappa) is a biennial plant resembling rhubarb in many ways. The leaves alternate and are rather large, basal, wider at the bottom and attached to a long rhubarb shaped stem. The flowers stalks form the second year and grow to about 4 to 5 feet in height. The flowers are purple to pink in color and the seeds are small nutlets about 0.2 inches long that easily cling to your clothes when fully mature.

Dig the roots of the first year plant for the recipes below. The roots are at their best in June and July but can be collected latter for emergency food. This can be quit the chore and I have found that a post hole digger works best. The long roots have a rather thick rind and once peeled away you will have a root stock about a half inch in diameter and roughly a foot long.

Slice this root diagonally and boiled for about 30 minutes in water with a pinch of salt. Drain off water and boil again in fresh water for about 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and butter.

Burdock Salad

  • 3 lbs root stock, sliced and boiled
  • 1/4 to 1/3 c. cider vinegar (to taste)
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, chopped
  • 2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 4 green onions, finely minced
  • 2 tsp. tarragon
  • 1 sm cucumber peeled, seeded, chpd
  • 2 Tbs. Prepared horseradish
  • 1 c. (packed) parsley, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c. (packed) minced fresh dill weed (2 Tbs. if using dried dill)
  • 1/2 to 1 c. sour cream
  • 1 to 2 tsp. salt (to taste)
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 1/2 c. toasted sunflower seeds (opt)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 c. chopped cashews (opt)

Cook the burdock root as described above, drain. Thoroughly combine all ingredients, cover and chill. Makes a great main dish for lunch during those hot summer days, and of course, goes well with any barbecue! If collecting that many burdock roots proves to tiresome substitute potatoes to make up the difference.

Scalloped Burdock Root with Garlic Chives (Chinese Chives)

  • 3 cups sliced, cooked Burdock root
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic chives
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper, as desired

Preheat oven to 350°F. Layer the burdock, with chives sprinkled over each layer, in a buttered casserole. Combine the margarine, milk, salt, and pepper, and pour this mixture over the burdock. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve topped with a sprinkle of fresh chives.


Burdock Salsa

  • 2-3 cups chopped Burdock leaf stalks
  • 5 fresh red tomatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • Fresh green chiles
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • Salt and pepper

Combine ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add chips and appetite.

Melana Hiatt


Burdock-Ginger Jam

  • 1 pound of sliced burdock stems
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger (about 1 ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Combine all ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until jam thickens and mounds on spoon, stirring often to prevent scorching, about 20 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

Cover; chill.


Burdock, Carrot, and Lotus Root Kinpira

For 4

  • 1/2 LB. Burdock, cut matchstick syle or shaved
  • 1 Large carrot, cut into matchsticks or shaved
  • 1/2 LB. Lotus root, cut into matchsticks
  • Sesame oil
  • Shoyu & Sea Salt
  • Water as needed

Brush as small skillet with sesame oil and heat over a medium high flame. Saute the burdock with a pinch of sea salt until the smell changes from slightly acrid to slightly
sweet (several minutes). Add a few drops of water occasionally if needed. Layer the lotus root, carrots and a pinch of sea salt on top of burdock. Add enough water to make
a thin film of water over the entire surface of the pan. Cover with a tight lid and place a weight on it. Increase flame to high. When the lid becomes too hot to touch
comfortably, reduce flame as low as possible. Cook on low flame for 35-40 m. Remove lid, add 1 t. shoyu and cover. Cook 3-5 minutes more, then shake pan gently to coat contents with juice. Serve warm.

Melana Hiatt


Burdock Jam

Two summers ago I went on a burdock stem experiment spree…I took the stems from first year plants and cooked them in water with a pinch of soda for 20
minutes…some I added diced onions, tomatoes and peppers to and made salsa from…it was pretty green but tasted good…no complaints from the family
anyway…some of it I made into jam…I took 4 cups cooked stem and added 4 cups sugar and one box commercial pectin…I brought that to a boil and
sealed in jars…it is pretty good as a jam…but again…very green…so I think the idea of hiding it in bread is a hot tip… Remember…you can make jam or jelly out of about anything…just depends on how weird you want to get.

Melana Hiatt



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