Burdock is native to temperate Europe and Asia and a most popular variety root vegetable in Japan. 'Takinogawa' is a special, late-variety burdock that is rich in flavour. This important Japanese vegetable is essential to many classic Japanese dishes including kimpira, made with sautéed burdock and carrots.
The tap root can be as long as a metre long (36in), they have a texture similar to parsnips and when cooked quickly, retain their crispiness; the outer skin is very thin, similar to carrots.
In England, Burdock is best known as an ingredient in the beverage Dandelion and Burdock, the English equivalent of American root beer. The key flavour profile is anise, perhaps a touch of ginger and spice, but generally a feel of summer, hedgerows and fun.
The Burdock plant is a biennial, producing a rosette of leaves in the first year, then completing its life cycle by flowering and seeding in the second year. Mature plant can reach 100cm (3ft) in height. It is easily grown from seed it prefers a deep and sandy garden soil in partial shade or full sun. It may be sown directly from early spring on into summer, with plenty of time left to get a good harvest of roots.
Burdock is the hardiest root vegetable and winters in the garden easily for spring digging. Work the soil deeply for best crop and cook like carrots. Seeds can be sprouted like bean sprouts; nothing goes to waste with this plant.
Sowing: Sow from early spring on into summer
Soak seeds for 2 to 4 hours in warm water then sow the burdock seeds about 7mm (¼ in) deep and pat down the row. Burdock seeds germinate in 1 to 2 weeks. Keep weeded and thin to about 10cm (4in) apart. The plant prefers regular watering. The reason for keeping the plants so close together is that it makes the roots grow long and thin, which is desirable, and it lessens the labour involved in digging, as more roots are dug out of a smaller space.
Moderate harvest of the leaves throughout the season will not deter root development. The burdock roots are ready to harvest after two to four months. You don’t have to wait until the tops are dormant, but of course to obtain the largest possible roots (which can weigh up to two pounds), then harvest after the tops die back in the autumn.
Digging the roots can be difficult, unless the soil is a deep sandy loam. The best technique is to trench down the side of the row with a spade, then push the spade in behind the roots and lever them into the trench, being careful not to break them. Also be careful not to break the spade. (This is the part where you are glad you planted them closely together.) Dig and wash the roots and then split them down the length. A large root should be split into at least 4 pieces. Dry the burdock root pieces on screens in a dark, airy location or use a vegetable/fruit dehydrator. When the pieces snap and are internally dry, they may be ground up to make a tincture or stored in plastic bags or glass jars for later use.
Very young roots can be eaten raw, but older roots are usually cooked. Roots can be cut into slivers and stir-fried and can be used for the beverage Dandelion & Burdock. Young leaves and stalks are eaten raw or cooked. Seeds can be sprouted like bean sprouts. Nothing goes to waste with this plant.
Fresh burdock root or the tincture of dried root is taken internally as a treatment for skin complaints. Often combined with dandelion or yellow dock, burdock root is an effective blood purifier used to treat psoriasis, eczema, oily skin, acne, boils, and gout. The leaf may be picked as needed for tea as soon as it reaches sufficient size. For more information on the use of burdock root in home herbal medicine, see the book “Making Plant Medicine.” by Richard A. Cech ISBN: 9780970031204
Burdock Root is used for natural dying, it produces a yellow dye
- Additional Information
Packet Size 500mg Average Seed Count 30 Seeds Common Name Burdock Root, Gobo Other Language Names IR. Cnádán Family Asteraceae Genus Arctium Species lappa Cultivar Takinogawa Hardiness Hardy Biennial Time to Sow Sow from early spring on into summer Germination Burdock seeds germinate in 1 to 2 weeks. Time to Harvest The burdock roots are ready to harvest after two to four months.