Candied Burdock

candied burdock root

Burdock root is a potent yet gentle herbal medicine. It’s best known as a blood cleanser, often paired with Dandelion in detox formulas. In my household, we like Burdock‘s general digestive support. It helps our bodies to break down and eliminate metabolic waste. It has a mild bitter flavor that gets digestion moving and a slightly sweet, earthy flavor that makes that bitter go down a little easier. As a part of our daily diet, Burdock  helps keep the digestive tract functioning smoothly. In my family, that means fewer pimples and acne for the adolescent and better overall digestion for the middle-aged parents who’re a little stressed from parenting said adolescent.

How do you include Burdock in your daily diet? You can start by adding it to any recipe that calls for a bit of carrot or parsnip. Treat it much as you’d treat those vegetables. If you’re like me, however, you’ll get tired of braised, stir fried, and pickled Burdock. For those days when you can’t quite bring yourself to peel and chop another root, Candied Burdock is a real treat.

I used standard granulated sugar in my version, but you can easily substitute a more healthy version, like raw cane sugar that’s not been stripped of it’s nutrients or palm or date sugar. Honey will work as well, but you’ll want a granulated sugar to coat the finished pieces so they don’t stick together when they’re dry.

You can dig your own roots in the fall or early spring. Be sure to dig the roots of first year plants in the fall or catch them the following spring before the plant starts to bud again. When burdock moves into its second year, the roots become fibrous and a lot thinner as the plant puts his energy into blooming and producing seeds. Through the rest of the year, you can find tasty Burdock roots at your local Asian grocery. They’ll likely be called Gobo root and are a popular ingredient in Japanese cooking. That’s where I get most of my Burdock roots for daily use. They’re usually much straighter and less knobby than the ones I dig for stronger medicine. As a gentle, tonic medicine, they’ll do nicely.


  • 1 cup sugar or honey
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh Burdock or Gobo Roots


  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Paring knife
  • Cutting board
  • Bowl
  • Metal Spoon
  • Small sauce pot
  • Stove or similar heat source
  • Strainer
  • Heat-resistant container to catch hot syrup
  • Baking pan or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat


  1. Add the water and sugar to a pot and set it on the stove on medium heat.
  2. Stir to dissolve the sugar as the mixture heats.
  3. When the sugar is completely dissolved, add the Burdock root pieces to the mixture.
  4. Heat the mixture to a simmer.
  5. Simmer the mixture for about 20-30 minutes or until the Burdock root pieces start to look soft and slightly translucent.
  6. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool until you can handle it.
  7. Strain the Burdock root pieces from the liquid. Save the liquid, which is Burdock syrup, or other uses.
  8. Once the Burdock Root pieces have dripped dry, add a small amount of granulated sugar to a bowl.
  9. Coat the Burdock root pieces in the granulated sugar and set them on the rack to dry.
  10. When they’re dried, they’re ready to enjoy.

Storage and Use

Enjoy a piece or two of Candied Burdock Root daily. Keep your candied Burdock Root in a sealed container away from critters. I keep mine in the refrigerator, but a clean, dark pantry would do as well.

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