Burdock is well known among herbalists for its value, both nutritive and medicinal. Like many medicinal plants, the list of complaints for which it is considered beneficial is lengthy, as well as largely empirical and anecdotal. However, its centuries long part in the herbal medicine tradition attests to its effectiveness, especially as a tonic, helping to cleanse the blood and normalize various systems in the body. From a nutritional standpoint, burdock root is high in vitamin B6 and several important minerals.
Finding burdock root is a fairly simple task. It is very common in the wild; however, if you are a little uncomfortable with that idea, most Asian grocers will carry it, along with the ingredients needed to make the following recipe: burdock root pickles. This is a simple way to add this wonderful vegetable to your diet, and pickling is an excellent method for preserving large amounts of something, like a giant pile of burdock roots.
This recipe is for refrigerated pickles, but can be adapted for canning procedures as well. Refrigerator pickles have the advantage of not needing processing, so if you have room in the fridge, I recommend this method.
The first thing you will need are jars that will hold two cups of sliced burdock root. To begin, sanitize your jars and lids. I usually do so by boiling them in water for ten minutes. Then carefully go through the steps involved while the jars are still hot.
First, gather your ingredients. For each jar of pickles you will need:
- 2 cups burdock root, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbs allspice
- 1/2 tbs star anise
- 4 thin slices fresh, peeled ginger
- 4 cloves peeled garlic
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp pickling salt
- Steam the burdock until you can pierce with a fork, about 40 minutes. It is probably easiest to sterilize jars while doing this step.
- Drain burdock and pack into jar with allspice, star anise, ginger, garlic, mustard, cloves and salt.
- Mix the vinegar and the water, and bring to a boil.
- Pour the vinegar/water mixture into the jars, mixing well.
- Cover the jar loosely and refrigerate at least twelve hours before sampling. Burdock root pickles will last for several weeks in the refrigerator. As always with pickles, anything that comes out too soft, discolored or funny smelling, throw out and, by all means, try again.