Deep Roots: Pickled Burdock

Friday, March 15, 2019 6:07 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
Deep Roots: Pickled Burdock
With Linda Conroy of Moonwise Herbs

Burdock (Arctium sp) is one of the most nourishing herbs on the planet. It’s long tap root reaches deep into the soil and pulls up minerals, storing them in it’s roots. These nutrients are then rendered bio available to our bodies once we ingest them. Western herbalists consider burdock to be a blood “cleanser” and I like to be more clear in that it nourishes the liver, which supports our bodies with elimination. Burdock also nourishes the blood, it does not deplete as the wording “cleanser” insinuates. It actually, deeply nourishes and replenishes while also assisting the liver in functioning more effectively. In doing this burdock is known for it’s ability to clear skin conditions, from eczema to acne.    So you can see that ingesting these pickles can nourish the body in very deep and long lasting ways.

As for harvesting, we harvest burdock root in the late fall, just before the ground freezes. The roots contain the most nutrients, at that time, as the plant has stored them for it’s own winter nourishment. You can also purchase burdock root in asian grocery stores as well as health food stores. Burdock is a biennial (a plant with a two year life cycle) and like many plants with a two year life cycle, the root is harvested in the fall of the first year. When harvested at this time of the year the root is a tender vegetable. In Japan burdock is known as gobo and is considered a staple vegetable. When prepared properly it is tender and delicious. I love to pickle the roots and to eat them as part of my daily nourishment, particularly during the winter months. I learned to make these pickles from one of my first herb teachers, Eaglesong Gardner. I am ever grateful, as many years later we still make these with our own twists to the recipe. I like to make one or two gallons which will last through the winter months.

Making Burdock Pickles

1. Slice burdock roots. Can be in strips or coins, but which ever style you choose it

is ideal to slice them evenly

2. Place sliced roots in a steaming basket and into a pot. Add a small amount of water to the bottom. Steam for 5-10 minutes.

3. While the roots are steaming slice a small amount of garlic and ginger.  Wild leeks, wild ginger and turmeric can be added as well. Place garlic and ginger in a proper size jar for the amount of root that you have. I use quarts or 1/2 gallons.

4. .  Prepare the brine. The brine consists of:

-1 part cider vinegar (I like to use raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar)

 -1 part tamari or shoyu (both fermented soy products)

 -1 part steamed burdock water.

5..   When roots are steamed, pack into jars. Once roots cool down, pour the brine over them. I like to have everything cool, so that the beneficial bacteria in the vinegar and the tamari renders these a fermented food product, beneficial to the digestive system.

*burdock contains inulin, which is a prebiotic substance, also beneficial to the digestive system.


6.I like to leave these on the counter for a day or two, until the flavors meld. Then I place them in the refrigerator. They can be stored there indefinitely.



7.We like to nourish our bodies by eating a couple of pickles a day.


We hope you enjoy these as much as we do! 


Linda Conroy is a bioregional, wise woman herbalist, educator,wildcrafter, permaculturist and an advocate for women's health.

She is the proprietress of Moonwise Herbs and the founder of Wild Eats: a movement to encourage people and communities to incorporate whole and wild food into their daily lives. She is passionate about women's health and has been working with women for over 20 years in a wide variety of settings.

Linda is a student of nonviolent communication and she has a masters degree in Social Work as well as Law and Social Policy. Linda has been offering hands on herbal programs and food education classes for well over a decade.

She has completed two herbal apprenticeship programs, one of which was with Susun Weed at the Wise Woman Center and she has a certificate in Permaculture Design.

Linda is a curious woman whose primary teachers are the plants; they never cease to instill a sense of awe and amazement.

Her poetic friend Julene Tripp Weaver, eloquently describes Linda when she writes, "She listens to the bees, takes tips from the moon, and follows her heart."

Listen to a thirty minute interview with mentor Linda Conroy


Study with Linda Conroy from Home

~Empower Yourself with Herbal Medicine Making~
( Link to detailed description of Empower Yourself with Herbal Medicine Making )

The goal of the course is to have participants become familiar with herbal medicine, to become comfortable incorporating herbs into daily life and to gain hands on experience making simple remedies at home.

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