Burdock , Arctium
One of if not my favourite wild preserves came to me as a pure twist of fate / luck , I love taking some of the less commonly used wild foragables and playing with them until I find a pleasant use for them .
One of the first plants I remember foraging was burdock it’s sheer size made it easy to find and at the time I was purely targeting the root and for the effort put in I was surly disappointed as with more research and experience I found there is a very small window to harvest burdock root in its palatable state , this is first year growths (burdock is a biennial plant) in very early spring when the root is energy rich and packed with minerals and when you get it right it’s hard to fault as a food sweat and pulpy not only a edible but delicious ,
but I’ve talked to so many people who say
” tried it and it was woody and bitter in taste “
This I am sure is due to people not being aware of the restrictions surrounding it’s collection .
I find it funny how most people are aware of the edibility of the root but have no idea that the plant as a whole is edible ,
So every bit of the plant is edible leaves , stems , stalks and root and although the prime root has to be the prize they each have there own use , the stalks are good in stews and casseroles and the stems peeled have a pleasant taste in salads the root is best roasted and mashed .
I set out to make some chutney and have used the stem before and for some reason I was interrupted , the reason escapes me but I was aware that once peeled the stem discolours rapidly so I simply squeezed a lemon over them to retain the colour .
The following day when I returned I noticed the colour had actually improved with the lemon to a greenie golden hue and true to form I dipped in for a taste , the taste had become more fruit like so I decided to play and this was my end result one of my proudest foraged jams .
I soaked the stems in lemon juice for approximately 24 hrs add the rind of two lemons to the mix .
I use 1/5 apple pulp as a pectin addition this is added to one cup of water and the diced stems this was boiled for ten minutes to this I add equal amounts of pulped wild ginger root (Asarum europaeum).
It is worth noting that if you are using cultivated ginger it is many times more pungent than wild ginger and levels will need to be adjusted .
Add one half cup of liquid honey and a half cup of sugar and continue to boil for a further ten minutes.
The jam is of a golden colour and has a really good warming taste .