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Burdock stalks.

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I only heard about burdock stalks this winter.

And I've been focused on wild foods this spring, cos I wrote a wild food booklet earlier this year. Burdock leaf stalks (or flowerstalks) aren't included, as I hadn't tried them before now ...

So today, I went cutting some of the copious burdock leaves from among my rhubarb. (Both rhubarb and burdock are right next to a busy dirt track, where kids walk all the time. I believe in teaching people the difference between rhubarb and other plants by tasting.)

Picking tip: if you have long hair, keep a hat on. It takes a long time to comb out burdock seed balls. Don't go with your woolen sweater on, either, nevermind how cold it is: that, too, will get covered in tenacious seed heads from last year's flower stalks.

I think burdock stalks must be one of the easiest wild food to pick in quantity. I went in there, and five minutes later I had a large bunch of long leaf stalks. (They're not making flower stalks yet ... I'll try those later).

In the kitchen, I cut them up into 2-3 cm (about 1") long bits, poured them into boiling water, and let them simmer for a while.

While the leaf tea is bitter, the stalks aren't. Who'd've thunk?

A lovely addition to today's meat'n'nettle'n'carrot stew.

And of course, the leaf can be used, too.

Related entries: Burdock root - Burdock seed - Burdock leaf


... burdock stalk is quite diuretic. Just so the low-bloodpressure folks know ...

I've found that the leaf is bitter no matter when you pick it.

I am trying to help my Mom with a horrible case of eczema. The itching is driving her mad. So far all the conventional medicines have failed. I heard burdock was good for itching and am trying to find a recipe for a salve. I have tons of burdock growing on my farm. I think it is beautiful in bloom and the birds love it, too. I have plantain growing wild here, too. I would appreciate any help you can provide.

Chickweed is best for itch. Make a juice, an oil, a salve, whatever.
Burdock works -- for some -- by cooling down the liver. It's for a certain type of itch associated with too much too rich food. Not your average problem.

Thank you for this information. I am amused by my automatic response which mentally labels this "weed" as not a food. Perhaps that is because for years I dug it out of the garden in large quantities. It doesn't grow in our desert where I am now, but who knows I might one day garden in a cooler, wetter area again and I'll get the opportunity to try it.