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Winter | Burdock


Meet Burdock, who when mature, can be found growing to the height of a small adult human in fields and open spaces and whose small purple flowers turn into spiky fruits or 'burrs'


You might know some of her other names such as sticklebacks, sticky jack, bardana, cockle buttons or Arctium lappa



This video is also available to watch on YouTube and Vimeo.

In summer, the magnificent Burdock, when mature,

can be found growing to the height of a small adult human

in fields and open spaces

It's furry leaves can grow to the size of dinner plates and

eventually, it's small purple flowers turn into spiky fruits or 'burrs'

However, the plant dies right back in the winter

leaving only leaves growing close to the ground

so take note of where your burdock was growing in the summer

so that you know where to harvest the precious roots in winter

You will need to dig deep to pull out these much-prized roots

eaten throughout the northern hemisphere

as a valuable winter carbohydrate

Burdock root has a long tradition

of being used to boost immunity as an anti-viral

as well as by helping the liver to work more effiiently

it is used to help relieve sore throats and swollen glands

and through it's powerful action on the liver

it helps improved the entire digestion

and helps to relieve constipation

it is also tradtionally used to treat deep seated and stuborn cases of eczema and psoriasis

Here is a really nice Japanese recipe for preparing burdock root

Once you have your fresh burdock root,

wash with a brush to remove all the dirt and dry it

Then, using a potato peeler, shred the burdock root

into 2-4cm lengths - like peeling a carrot

Put these cuttings onto a baking tray and turn the oven

and turn the oven onto its lowest setting

Gas Mark 1, 140C, 275F

Put your tray on the lowest shelf and leave for 3-4 hours

When the shredded roots are dried, transfer them to a frying pan

and dry fry them on low-to-medium heat until golden brown

No oil at all is used, just heat

When this is done, store your dried roots

in an airtight container until you need them

There's no need to refrigerate them

just keep them in a dark, cool place

and they should keep for at least a year

With this recipe, the burdock root pieces are so thin

that you can use them as you would a tea

scoop up what you can between your first two fingers and thumb

drop in a teapot and add boiling water

Infuse for 5-10 minutes, strain and drink warm