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:
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:
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.
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.
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