My Dirt Time The Adventures of Tom Sciacca

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Burdock

"Any idea what this plant is?"

Answer: Burdock

Facts as borrowed from Wildman Steve Brill:

This major wild food has long-stalked wedge-shaped leaves reminiscent of elephantsí ears, 2 feet long and 1 foot across. Unlike similar leaves, theyíre white and fuzzy underneath.

The basal rosette of leaves stays close to the ground the first year and the beginning of the second.

You can harvest the large, deep, beige taproot from the basal rosette form (as soon as the flower stalk appears, the root becomes tough and woody) from early spring to late fall. Its hearty flavor is a little like that of potatoes, although it ís related to artichokes.

Scrub the root with a coarse copper scouring pad, but donít peel it. Slice it razor-thin on a diagonal, oriental-style, or use the finest slicing disk of a food processor.

Simmer 20 minutes or until tender. You may also sautÈ it, but add liquid and cook it in moist heat another 10 minutes afterwards, or it may not get tender.

You may also harvest the immature flower stalk in late spring, before the flowers appear, while itís still tender and very flexible.

Peeled and parboiled for 1 minute to get rid of the bitterness, it tastes like artichoke hearts, and it will enhance any traditional recipe that calls for the heart of artichokes. Cook this for another 5-10 minutes.

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