Burdocks are called gobo in Japanese. It is a root vegetable widely eaten in Eastern Asian countries. But in the United States some people drink dried burdock root as herbal tea.
Burdocks are believed to have properties to purify liver and blood. I heard that burdock tea is good to calm down eczema due to it’s anti-inflamatory property. Even in Japan, I remember I was told that burdocks cleanse digestive systems.
Burdock root has crunchy texture and rich in fibers. The taste is also distinctive, which I didn’t like when I was a child.
To prepare burdocs, don’t peal the skin off, because it is the most nutritious part. Simply scrub with a brush under cold running water. The thin layer of dirt comes off easily, and whiter skin shows up.
Due to its fibrous texture, it’s often cut in julienne or whittled as if sharpening pencils. But just like celery, burdock is one of the vegetables you can’t use a mandoline slicer. After cutting, burdocks should be soaked in cold water for about 5~10 minutes. This process will remove unpleasant bitter taste, but if you soak too long, the flavor and nutritional value will be lost.
Burdocks can be found at Asian grocery stores. Chinese grocery stores usually have them. I bought the burdocks of the photo at a Chinese grocery store. I’ve never seen them sold at neighborhood grocery stores, or organic food stores. But this is a kind of vegetable that should gain more popularity among the Americans who look for healthy eating style.
Burdocks are used for butajiru, kimpira, or salad (just boil briefly and mix with other ingredients).
How to Choose Burdock
- Buy a firm one. Soft, soggy, and bendable ones are old
- Avoid the ones that are too thick, because interior part may be hollow
- Choose the one with less hair
- Avoid the ones with cracks