Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Edible Lappa Burdock

Burdock has been the bane of my existance for the past three years! I have spent a few entire afternoons going about with the clippers, cutting off any and all flower stalks that grow on the rosette of leaves that has spread all over my property.

Burdock is a biennial. It germinates and produces the leaf rosette the first year. It blooms and goes to seed, producing the burrs the second year, then dies.

These burrs can often be found in huge balls, wrapped up in my dog's fur, especially his tail and rear. It's uncomfortable for him, poor fellow! For this reason I have tried very hard to iradicate it, to no avail! I had more first year burdock this year than ever before!

Next year there will be a difference! I have done some research on the burdock plant this year and learned a few helpful things. Not helpful in getting rid of it, but information to help me appreciate it more.

Did you know that "Greater Burdock", which is what I have growing all over, is edible? It is also called "edible burdock or Lappa burdock". The roots are highly prized and sought after by other cultures and used to prepare many dishes in Asia and the Mediterranean.

What I found most intersting is that the budock plant is closely related to the artichoke. The young, tender flower stalks, apparently, taste like artichokes.

So, next year, I'll be hunting those flower stalks again, but with a different purpose in mind. Image that, we'll be eating burdock and it will probably be delicious! I don't think I will tell hubby what it is until after we have eaten it. He trusts me. He knows I am not going to feed him something that he cannot eat.

Do any of you eat burdock? Do the young flower stalks taste like artichoke?

I have even put some seeds on my farm store! I am amazed at the idea that someone would deliberately plant it, but after some thought I guess it's not so far fetched. If it's really is that good, why not plant it? Just make sure you eat all the flower stalks before they make burrs and bury themselves in your dog's fur!

I can tell you right now that it can't possibly be more prolific and invasive than some other things I have growing here on purpose. I will have to post a picture of my now-chickenless chicken pen, covered like a jungle with curly dock and it's not really that invasive. At least it doesn't stick to my dog's fur! (I fed those to the chickens last year.) There is also a giant pumpkin growing in there and in the old chicken manure, it's HUGE!

Burdock could be pretty and interesting in a perennial bed, I suppose, if one can release one's temptation to yell and demolish the THING on site!

So, a new discovery and a surprising one too! Another step in becoming a little more self sufficient!


dilli and the manthing said...

we unfortunately do not have burdock here on the land however I am not going to plant it either as we have plenty other nuisance plants to contend with.. I have never actually eaten it in a food but I have used the roots in various medicinal vinegars and sodas.

Somerhill said...

ACK! Its the bane of sheep producers, also. I HATE getting it in their wool. My second least favorite plant is cocklebur! Can you find a good use for it, too? :^)

Ruralrose said...

Excellent post here, just what I like to find. I have dug it up and washed the roots, but alas wasn't brave enough to use it. Should have cut it into a stir fry I suppose. Thanks for the heads up about the young flower. Peace

~Tonia said...

Its also very high in protien as a animal feed. Made like hay. It can be Very invasive here also. I havent ever tried eating it though.. I will be interested to see what you think!

Kelle said...

I planted burdock, because we do eat it as well as use the roots for medicinal uses and in teas.

To keep it from spreading we clip off the seed( burs) before they drop and reseed themselves.

After all they are on our state's Noxious weed list, but so is wormwood, comfrey, yarrow and a few other blessed wild herbs.*sigh*


The Japanese Redneck said...

I don't think we have that here in Mississippi.

We have a burr, but the plant looks different.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

I have tried many hours to go about and remove all the flowers before they turn into burrs. There are always plants that elude me! Buck somehow finds them, though.

Goo tip about the animal feed, Tonia!

Kelle, I'd be interested in some recipes that use it or some directions on how to use it. I can put the roots into a stirfry or stew but would like to know how to prepare the stalks to taste like artichokes.