The burdock plant, Arctium lappa, is native to the Eurasian continent. The root of the burdock plant is harvested in winter. The burdock plant has been cultivated in Japan since the Jomon era (14,000BC – 300BC), but did not become eaten widely in Japan until the Edo period (1603-1868). The skin of the burdock root is the main source of the burdock root’s aroma, so in preparing it wash the root well to remove all the dirt, but do not skin it. Burdock root can, however, be rather bitter, so it should be soaked in water or water with a little vinegar added to get rid of this bitterness. Burdock root is often eaten as tempura, kinpira, and in stewed or simmered dishes.
Text by Kitchen Nippon