Burdock Root Troubleshooting

Posted on January 4, 2014


Does anyone have luck with burdock root? We got some to grow once, and we sauteed it in sesame oil with some other oriental-esque foods and it was one of the best things ever, but for whatever reason, we’ve had very poor luck getting any of our remaining burdock seeds (from several places and several varieties) to sprout.

I’m wondering if they’re like onions and the seeds have an incredibly short shelf life? I wasn’t aware that onion seeds had a short shelf life until recently and it probably explains why so many of our onions just won’t sprout (that and Florida obviously just hates onions).

For anyone unfamiliar with burdock as I was not too long ago, it’s a root vegetable.

image from cuisinivity.com

It produces – at least our previous one did – pretty broad leaves, and the root is a narrow, long shoot. Ours was surprisingly long, probably around 2 feet. I can’t recall if Nate peeled it before he sauteed it or not, but it was amazingly good. Crisp, kinda sweet, texture similar to a carrot if you were to saute it.

Kitazawa’s seed catalog, being as awesome as they are, includes a recipes section in the back for some of their strange [to people like me who have not even a lick of the orient in their blood as far as they know] culinary treats. Here are the 2 recipes they give for burdock, which can frequently be found in your local oriental market, and sometimes a normal market if they carry some specialty goods.


1/2 lb. of gobo (this is the burdock)
2 T. of vegetable oil (can use sesame oil)
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 T. sugar
Cayenne pepper

Scrape the exterior of the root with a sharp knife to remove the skin (that answers that!!). Cut gobo into thin matchstick size. Soak in water 15 minutes and rinse. Do this a couple of times. Soak gobo in ice water, drain, and pat dry (the gobo may be frozen at this point for later use). Add oil to hot pan and saute gobo for 3-4 minutes. Add all ingredients and cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Take off heat and add cayenne pepper to taste.

Salada Gobo

2 t. mayonnaise
1 t. vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. sugar
sesame seed (Add all ingredients to your desired taste)

Scrape the exterior of the root with a sharp knife to remove the skin. Cut gobo into thin matchstick size. Blanch the burdock for a minute or two. Immediately soak burdock in ice water, drain and pat dry. Mix above ingredients to desired taste and dress over the cold burdock. Serve cold.

And just so you know, we haven’t made either of these recipes, so can’t attest to their agreeableness with our palettes, but if you make them, let us know what you think so that if we decide to buy some at market, or manage to get it to grow again, we can try them before any other concoctions we think up for this awesome root.