My Dirt Time The Adventures of Tom Sciacca

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Burdock. Another one kids know

My Dirt Time This is another wild edible plant that many of remember from our youth. Burdocks are the plant that has the sticky/prickly burs that stick to your clothing when walking through the woods. In fact I had at least three of them thrown at me this past week alone. I remember when we were kids we'd throw them at each other and let them stick to see if the other person knew they had the bur stuck on them.

We simply dug out the root (bring a big shovel the roots can be huge) of the first year plant and cut it up for our stirfry. The first year plant is the one that hasn't grown up to a tall plant with the burs. It's the one that has huge leaves that are low to the ground like the one here in the pic. Generally I don't recommend collecting wild edibles along a roadway, but this is on Marty's property and it doesn't get much traffic and doesn't get sprayed.

Since I do love the info on his site, his video and he knows what he's talking about check out what the Wildman says about burdock.

"Burdock (Arctium species). This major wild food has long-stalked wedge-shaped leaves reminiscent of elephants’ ears, 2 feet long and 1 foot across. Unlike similar leaves, they’re white and fuzzy underneath.

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

Then, in mid-spring of year 2, a central flower stalk 2-9 feet tall arises.

The flowers resemble purple shaving brushes.

The fruits that follow are brown globular burrs that stick to clothing and anything else.

After thus dispersing its seeds, this biennial dies.

Burdock Seeds These crescent-shaped black seeds fall to the ground when you remove the burrs from your clothing.

Look for burdock in disturbed habitats, roadsides, vacant lots, and fields. It grows throughout North America except in the Deep South.

Burdock leaves are delicious too, but only if you're a goat! 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’s related to artichokes.

Burdock Root Scrub the root with a coarse copper scouring pad, but don’t 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 sauté 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 it’s 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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