How to cook with burdock root

How to cook with burdock root

Let this strengthening root nourish you

Burdock (Arctium lappa) grows wild, and is now cultivated all over the world. Herbalists know it well as a strengthening, immune-boosting tonic. Rich in vitamins and minerals, the root can be tinctured, brewed into an infusion, or eaten. The young root is white and tender, while the older root develops a tough outer layer. Harvesting the deep root requires work and effort; however, its familiar, sticky burrs are much more easily obtained.

Burdock root, known in Japan as gobo, can be a tasty ingredient in soups and other dishes. Some preparation is required before adding it to recipes; learn these steps before you begin to cook with this herb. Then try some of the recipes listed below.


Step 1

Purchase or harvest burdock root

You can purchase burdock root at your local health food store or Asian market; look for a slender, firm root. If you harvest burdock root, do so during the first year of growth, or in early spring of the second year. Insert a garden fork next to all four sides of the root; rock the garden fork back and forth to loosen the root. Push back the soil with the trowel, and repeat these steps until you can pull the root out of the ground.

Step 2

Clean and cut root

The outer peel of the root is edible; however, if it is tough, you should remove it using a sharp knife. Scrub the root with a brush, cut into bite-size pieces, and rinse.

Step 3


Soak root pieces in a bowl filled with water and a little vinegar. This step will help prevent discoloration and give the root a crispy texture, even after parboiling.

Step 4


Meanwhile, fill a pot with water, and heat water to boil. When water reaches boiling point, add pieces of burdock root to half the water in a separate pot. Boil 10 to 20 minutes and drain. Boil root in the other half of the boiling water 15 to 30 minutes. Drain again.

Step 5

Eat or add to recipe

At this point, you may eat the root as is, or add it to other dishes. For example, saute it or use in place of other root vegetbles with rice or soups.

Step 6

Store extra pieces

Refrigerate extra pieces of root for up to a week.

Things Needed
• Garden fork
• Hand trowel
• Fresh burdock root
• Scrub brush
• Cutting board and knife
• Medium bowl
• Vinegar
• Large pot
• Medium pot
• Colander or strainer

Tips & Warnings
• Draining the water after parboiling removes a bitter flavor, but it also removes nutrients. Instead of draining the water, try adding it to soups or even drinking it.
• Do not harvest the root after early spring of its second year. By the autumn of its second year, the root shrivels and begins to rot.
• Dried burdock root can be purchased from health food stores. Simply reconstitute by soaking in water, and add it to soups and other recipes.


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