Saturday, February 7, 2009

Burdock Root

I'm trying to add new vegetables to my diet. So far Orchard Farms does the best job of bringing unusual and not widely available items to the Santa Rosa Farmers Market. Last week purple kohlrabi and this week burdock root. Looks pretty homely but it actually fairly easy to prepare. The skin is thin and scrapes right off. Raw it tastes like raw turnip or a very mild radish. Cooked it is sweet kind of like a parsnip.

I diced the burdock root and used it in a stir fry with brussel sprouts flavored with soy, thai fish sauce and sour orange juice. Pretty darn good. I shredded some and added it to a cole slaw --tangy. I also used the shreds in a simple pickle -water and vinegar boiled and then poured over the shreds. Wine Recommendations: Sancerre or Reisling

Nutritional Highlights

Burdock can be termed a health food simply by virtue of its high fiber and low calorie content. It is also a very good source of potassium and a moderate source of iron and calcium. (In 1/2 cup of the fresh root there are 180 mg of phosphorus, 50 mg of calcium, 58 mg of phosphorus, 1.4 mg of iron, 0.03 mg of thiamine and 0.05 mg of riboflavin.) But perhaps the most unique aspect of the root is its very high amount of inulin, a naturally occuring phytochemical that mimics the actions of insulin. According to one source, from 27% to 45% of the root is inulin and some people have found it an effective food to control hypo-glycemia and pre-diabetes conditions.

Medicinal Value

Burdock is a root that is found in Europe in Asia. It has many medicinal qualities and has been used in many herbal remedies. The root is sweet to the taste and has a gummy consistency. Traditionally, burdock has been used as a remedy for measles, arthritis, tonsillitis, viruses like colds, throat pain, and as a diuretic. In modern times, burdock is also used in oncology and to treat many other serious health problems

Two recipes
burdock pickle

Kimpira Gobo

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