foraging tour & marinated burdock

This past weekend’s wild edible plants walk in Brooklyn, NY’s Prospect Park for Green Edge Collaborative was rescheduled due to rain. The original date was sold out, but because of the rescheduling there are now a few openings. We’ll be meeting (rain or shine this time!) Sun. 28th 9:45 a.m.-12 p.m. You can get more info and sign up here.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch…

I collected more burdock flower stalks and marinated them for a delicious antipasta (the last ones were better after two weeks of marinating than after two days. I’d love to tell you how good they were after three weeks, but I ate them all already). The recipe is a simple one that can also be used to preserve mushrooms and other vegetables (recipe below).

Burdock is a biennial that in its first year puts out a rosette of huge leaves. These are about a foot and a half in length.


In its second year it sends up flower stalks. The flowers eventually turn into the burrs the plant is named for. If you catch the timing right, before the plant actually flowers and while the stalks are still tender, you’ve got yourself a vegetable that is something like cardoons (a relative of the artichoke).

To use the immature burdock flower stalks, take off the leaves, peel away the stringy skin. Chop into pieces.

Here’s the part that you can do with almost any tender vegetable or mushroom. For the version I made tonight I included some home dried tomatoes:

1. Bring vinegar to a boil. Add vegetables or mushrooms and boil for five minutes.

2. Drain.

3. Loosely pack into a clean glass jar along with sprigs or leaves of fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, and bay are especially good in this). Cover with olive oil. Press lightly with a spoon to release any air bubbles. Make sure the vegetables are completely covered with oil.

4. Cover and store in the refrigerator for at least a week before sampling so the flavors have time to develop (yeah, you caught that I snuck a taste after just two days. Scientific research–had to verify that they really are better for the wait. They are.) Will keep, refrigerated, for six months except for the fact that you’ll eat them long before that. Bring to room temp before serving with crusty bread.



Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes by Leda Meredith

2 responses to “foraging tour & marinated burdock”

  1. greenmom says:

    I know that burdock only flowers in the second year, can I use the first year plant anytime or is it still better before a certain time of year?

    • ledameredith says:

      You can use the root of the first year plant anytime as food or medicine, though as medicine I find it is stronger in the fall. For the vegetable treat of the immature flower stalks, though, you have to wait until the second year.

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