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Food and Recipe of the Month

January - Burdock Root

You know those large burrs you get on your pant legs while taking a hike in the woods? That is from the burdock plant. Yes, burdock grows locally here in Michigan. You can easily identify the plant from the large burrs plus the exceptionally large leaves. The root of the plant is what is used in cooking to create earthy, robust winter dishes, The burdock root is so strong when it is growing downwards under ground, if a rock is in its way, the root will break the rock and keep going. In Oriental medicine they teach us, we become the what we eat. Can you imagine the strength you will get from eating a root that can break a rock?

When shopping for burdock root, you will have to look at health food stores or Oriental stores. Also known as gobo root in Japan, the root should be firm not soft or wilted when it is purchased. Burdock root loves water. Once you get the root home, wrap it in wet paper towel and place in plastic bag and store in refrigerator. The burdock will last a couple months if you make sure the paper towel remains wet during that time.

The healing benefits are tremendous, here is a list:

- Remove toxins from blood and purifies blood
- Moves stagnant lymphatic system, helps make lymphatic system strong
- Anti inflammatory properties and anti bacterial properties
- Treats enlarge spleen, spleen keeps body free from infections and viruses
- Promotes hair growth and improve scalp condition
- Helps get rid of painful tonsillitis
- Treats arthritis, drink tea for 40 days, lowers inflammatory markers in blood
- Contains antioxidants, phenolic acids, quercetin and luteoplin
- Defends against diabetes, contains inulin a insoluble fiber and prebiotic that improves digestion and lowers high blood sugar
- Supports healthy gut flora
- Helps treat anorexia nervosa
- Improves liver function

Cancer fighting properties: Arctigenin which is a lignan in certain plants that combat caner cells. It selectively stops the proliferation of cancer cells by inhibiting the cancer cells production in a particular protein (NPAT protein), hence crippling cancers ability to reproduce. Also arctigenin has been shown to kill certain cancer cells, such as lung, liver and stomach cancer cells.

Here is my recipe for Aduki Bean and Burdock Soup, from my Perceptions in Healthy Cooking cookbook. This is one of the first recipes I made up in my kitchen about 22 years ago.

Recipe of the month:

Aduki Bean Soup

1 ½ cups aduki beans (picked over and soaked 6 hours)
8 cups water
4 inch piece kombu (soaked, cut small)
1 onion (diced)
3 carrots (thin rounds)
18 inches burdock root (thin rounds)
1 ½ tsp. cumin
2 T. mirin
4 T. light miso
1 tsp. sea salt
1 T. grated ginger, juiced

Bring water to a boil in a soup pot. Add aduki beans and kombu. Cover, simmer for 45 minutes. Add onions, carrots and burdock. Cover and simmer for 20 more minutes. Dissolve miso in some of the hot broth. Add the rest of the seasonings, mix, and serve.

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