Fall is a wonderful time to harvest the roots from Burdock, Arctium lappa. Burdock root is extremely nutritious and a deep healer. It is a long-term immune system strengthener among many other things, which makes it a wonderful herb to use for the upcoming cold and flu season.
My favorite way to use healthful herbs like Burdock root is to make them part of my diet. Sure, I make burdock tea from time to time, but my favorite burdock recipe is Burdock root pickles.
These pickles are a common food eaten in my house. I love tea made from burdock root, but this is an even tastier way of taking your burdock.
Burdock Root Pickles
1. First, you’ll need some burdock roots. Dig up roots from a first-year plant in the fall (spring works okay, but not as ideal). Do not use plants that have the velcro-like seed pods (like the photo above that shows a second-year plant in the fall). Burdock is a biennial. It’s easiest if you find a plant in looser soil, such as in a garden or on a farm. Hot Tip: Look in gardens or local farms. It’ll be way easier to dig them up! Wild is best for Burdock root pickles, but you can also buy burdock root at many Asian and natural groceries. Look for Gobo Root.
2. After composting the top parts and washing the roots, slice up the roots in bite-sized pieces. I cut larger pieces on an angle, about a quarter to a half-inch thick.
3. Then, put some water in the bottom of a pan and steam the root slices until they become a little soft, but still crispy. You’re basically breaking open the cell walls a little. DO NOT dump the water from the pan.
4. Fill a pint-sized jar with your burdock slices. Put in 4-6 cloves of peeled garlic as well as 4-6 ginger slices (how much depends on how much you like ginger and garlic).
5. Next, make a brine containing 1/3 tamari, 1/3 apple cider or balsamic vinegar, and 1/3 water from the bottom of the pan you steamed the burdock in.
6. Fill up your jar with this brine. Refrigerate, and in a few days, enjoy Burdock root pickles! If you make a lot, you can certainly steam can the pickles for shelf storage.