When we bought this farm, we bought a lot of burdock. Our septic engineer, in fact, pointed to a sea of burdock streaming beyond our barn and called it "the best stand of burdock he had ever seen." It has been a menace to sledders, attacking their faces on contact. I remember Normandy taking tweezers to Edmund's eyelids after one such run in. It has been a nuisance to people who just want to get things done around here. Garth, after taking down some fence a week or so ago, left his sweatshirt outside because it was a large knotted mound of burrs. We still haven't removed enough of the spurs to feel comfortable throwing it in the wash with other things. They were stuck inside and out. With so many unpleasant experiences apparently stemming from burdock it is no wonder I previously referred to it on this blog as a scourge. I am writing today to take that back.
I was wrong.
I had eaten burdock root before moving here. I purchased it in health food stores in New York City and drank teas that listed it as an ingredient. But having such a vast display at our disposal incited my curiosity again about its medicinal properties. After consulting the herbal books I have on hand, I found what I read was corroborated on the internet. I read that burdock root is a blood purifier and a diuretic. It is used to treat common skin conditions, promotes hormonal balance, improves digestion, the list goes on and on- read it for yourselves! I dug a few small burdock plants that day. The roots were about 5 inches long. I washed them quickly and took a pairing knife and basically peeled it like a carrot. It tasted sweet with a mild bitterness. As those flavors slowly ebbed away I chewed... and chewed. Did I mention it is full of insoluble fiber? The stems were good too. I peeled off their bitter and tuff outsides and chopped them into a salad like celery. I have yet to use the leaves, but I am getting there. Many things that I initially loath become my dear friends and teachers. I welcome burdock to the list.