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Fermented Vegetables with Burdock

General Posts, Identification, Recipes
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Another way I like to prepare burdock is to add it to delicious homemade sauerkraut! Fermented vegetables are an incredibly healthful way to prepare and keep your fall harvest into the winter. Because the vegetables are kept raw, all the vitamins, minerals and enzymes are kept intact. The live cultures that naturally live on cabbage and other vegetables breakdown the vegetables, making them easy to digest and also stocking them with probiotics which are beneficial to the body, especially the gut and immune system! (For more information about the health benefits of fermented vegetables, and health in general, check out our sister blog over at Birch Center for Health.)

First, I find the burdock plant that looks like this:

Burdock to Harvest

Burdock to Harvest

Notice it is still green and leafy and alive! Burdock is a two year plant, so this is a first year. The second year plants turn brown in the fall as they die, and you’ll notice they are covered with burrs, which is where their seeds are. (They stick to you as a way of spreading their seeds far and wide!)

Dig up the long tap roots (get as much as you can, they are difficult to eradicate!) Here is one that is already washed, but not yet peeled:

Burdock Root

Burdock Root

Once peeled with a regular vegetable peeler, I grate the burdock along with cabbage, cucumbers and apples. I also added sea salt and small pieces of wakame, which is a sea vegetable. (You can grate the veggies by hand, but I used my food processor.) I added them all to a bowl and massaged the salt into them. Add plenty of salt, taste it once it’s mixed and make sure you like how it tastes.

Shredded Vegetables: Cabbage, Burdock, Cucumbers

Shredded Vegetables: Cabbage, Burdock, Cucumbers

Finally, stuff the mixture (and all the juices it released when you were mixing it!) into a canning jar. You can top with larger pieces of cabbage leaf, rolled and pressed down to keep the kraut below the juices so it can ferment properly and not mold. You can also use burdock leaves or grape leaves for this purpose.

Sauerkraut in the Jar

Sauerkraut in the Jar

Cap the jar and label with your ingredients and the date. Leave your vegetables to ferment at room temperature. Uncap daily to make sure the veggies are pressed under the juice, and taste everyday. After 4 to 7 days, they kraut should reach a taste you like. (You can even keep them out longer if you like more sour flavored sauerkraut.) Put it in the fridge to stop (or slow greatly) the fermentation. It will keep practically indefinitely!

One book we love about making your own natural cultured veggies is called Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods, by Sandor Ellix Katz.  (You can browse our recommended books Here at Amazon).

Also, in Book 1 of our 5 eBook series (which you can get for free by signing up in the green box to the right!), has a recipe for fermented veggies with Burdock which you don’t want to miss, so make sure you sign up today! The book also has great pictures and information about identifying and harvesting burdock, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Thanks so much!

~ Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac.

Food Under Foot

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Making Burdock Root Tincture

General Posts, Herb, Identification, Medicinal, Tincture
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As promised in the previous post, here is how I made my own burdock root tincture.

Look for a first year burdock plant. This time of year it will still be green, large leaves in a basal rosette on the ground. You’ll likely find them next to the dead second year plants, which are brown and covered with burrs.

Burdock

Burdock

Below you’ll find one of the burdock roots we were able to get from the ground. Burdock has a long thick tap root, it’s nearly impossible to get the whole thing out, but do as best as you can.

Burdock Root

Burdock Root

After I washed all the dirt off, I peeled and chopped the root, below:

Peeled and Chopped Burdock Root

Peeled and Chopped Burdock Root

I put some of the chopped roots on drying racks to dry (I actually used my dehydrator, but you can air dry them as well, in a dark, airy place), and the rest I put into a glass jar and covered with 100 proof vodka, to tincture:

Burdock Root in a Jar, Covered with 100 Proof Vodka to Tincture

Burdock Root in a Jar, Covered with 100 Proof Vodka to Tincture

I could have covered it and put it away for six weeks, but instead I made use of my Vitamix (a high speed blender), and blended it all together. This way, I’ll be able to use the tincture faster:

Burdock Root and Alcohol Blended in the Vitamix

Burdock Root and Alcohol Blended in the Vitamix

I labeled it with the date, what was inside (Burdock Root) and what the solvent was (100 proof vodka). Two weeks later I poured off some of it, filtering it through a paint straining bag purchased at Home Depot (2 bags for $3). You can also use cheese cloth or other cotton cloth napkin to filter. You save the liquid (that is your tincture) and compost the plant matter. I poured off enough to fill a 2 oz dropper bottle, the rest is still in the jar in a dark cabinet.

Let us know what you do with Burdock. I’ll soon post a pictorial of how I made the delicious fermented vegetables with cabbage and burdock root. Now is a great time of year to harvest the burdock root. If you’re unsure how to identify it or what to do with it, make sure you sign up for our 5 free ebooks (the green box in the margin to your right.) The first book is on Burdock, so you’ll receive a ton of information right away after signing up.

Have fun, stay safe!
~ Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac.
Food Under Foot

Also please visit our sister blog, full of information on general health and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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