Burdock Stir-Fry

I’m here to share another unusual food item from the CSA and how we used it. Burdock is something I had never heard of prior to joining our CSA. The part we eat is a long, narrow root, with a slight similarity to a carrot. That’s the best way I can describe it.

You have likely seen the plants, even if you’ve never heard of this root vegetable. One variety of thistle, these are the kinds of plants with prickly burrs that like to grab on and hitch a ride as a means of seed dispersal.

My daughter has lamented that she wishes they could find a different way of spreading their seeds, and when a burr is caught in your hair, I think that’s a pretty reasonable wish. I don’t think I’ve ever pointed out that the burdock we eat is related to the burrs that sometimes bother her in her outdoor adventures. I think I might just keep that to myself for now, in case it taints her view of the food. If she ever asks what the rest of the plant looks like, then I will tell her, of course.

According to wikepedia, burdock is commonly eaten in Asia and is a good source of fiber, calcium, potassium, and amino acids. It is used in a soft drink in the U.K. It is believed to increase lactation, but it is not recommended during pregnancy because it is believed to stimulate the uterus. It is used for medicinal purposes by herbalists, for such diverse reasons as: diuretic, diaphoretic, dandruff, hair loss, and blood purification. source for info/picture

I can’t speak to all that, but I have been eating it each of the last three springs, and I have a stir-fry recipe to share. I love stir-fry, for the very reason that you can make it with whatever you have on hand. Meat or no meat, and an endless variety of vegetables and seasonings. Yum!

Burdock and Greens Stir-Fry (adapted from our CSA newsletter)

Olive oil to coat pan
Ground ginger (I used about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup chives, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 ramp bulbs, sliced thin
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 burdock roots, sliced thin
2 T rice vinegar
2 T soy sauce
cayenne pepper (I used just a sprinkle)
3 cups mixed greens
salt and pepper to taste

-Heat olive oil over medium heat.
-Add ramps and chives. Cook for 1-2 minutes until beginning to soften. (If you use fresh ginger, you’ll want to include that too.)
-Add mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes.
-Add burdock and continue to stir-fry for another minute.
-Add ground ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine, then add greens.
-Reduce heat to low and allow greens to wilt for about 2 minutes.
-Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
-Serve with rice.

One thing I took from this stir-fry is that I should really be using more mushrooms. They really stood out and tasted wonderful in this dish. As you can see, we had a brown rice and bean mix and parsnips along with the stir-fry. Parsnips are easily one of our favorite “new” foods from the CSA. We had never had them before the CSA, and they are SO good!!

What foods are you enjoying this spring?


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