Shiitake-burdock sauerkraut recipe

shiitake-burdock kraut2

I wanted to spice up my sauerkraut, so I made a batch with burdock root and shiitake mushrooms. Not only do these additions give the kraut a nice nutty flavor, they also boost its health benefits. Like sauerkraut, burdock has natural antimicrobial properties and promotes healthy digestion (in other words, it keeps you regular). Shiitake mushrooms help fight cancer and boost the immune system.

burdock and shiitake

Here they are on the chopping block. Burdock, also called gobo, often comes with a little dirt still on it. It’s a good idea to give it a gentle but thorough brushing under running water before you prepare it. I’ve also found that the organic variety has a much more complex and pleasing flavor than the conventional root, which tends to grow large and woody.

burdock and shiitake chopped

Chop those babies up! Thin slices are best and I like to cut the root at an angle.

cabbage, burdock, and shiitake mixed

Mix them with your shredded cabbage, adding 3 tablespoons of salt per 5 pounds of cabbage. For more details on sauerkraut preparation, look back to the extra good kraut recipe. I tried to use a good amount of mushroom and root without overwhelming the cabbage, but there’s no perfect ratio between them. Use as much or as little as you like. Once you’ve got the veggies coated with salt, press them and then pack them in a jar or crock with a weight on top (see the kraut recipe for details and read the post on safely storing your pickle during fermentation for even more tips.

shiitake-burdock kraut3

Here it is, a few weeks later and ready to eat.

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  1. lowrah’s avatar

    I would like to know how it tastes!

  2. Eric’s avatar

    You should make some! It doesn’t taste so different from regular kraut, but it has an added earthy flavor. Have you ever eaten burdock root? It’s really delicious. I like to chop it into matchsticks and saute it with garlic and ginger and soy sauce. When it’s finished I put some sesame seeds on top.

  3. lowrah’s avatar

    I dig up burdock for kimchi, but I have never tried it in kraut! I will also have to give the store-bought stuff a shot sometime. Sometimes I hit on a really woody gross one, but mostly they are smaller and tasty. I have to admit that it is a lot of work for a little reward because of how little burdock you end up with after you get the dirt and bark off of the root!

  4. Eric’s avatar

    I like the idea of putting it in kimchi! My parents used to dig up burdock but I’ve never done it. I seem to recall them saying something about catching the plant at a certain time or size in order for the root to be good. Is that true, or am I maybe mixing it up with something else?

  5. lowrah’s avatar

    Euell Gibbons in Stalking the Wild Asparagus says that you should harvest the root on the first year of growth. On the first year the plant stays close to the ground, the second year it grows UP, with a big stalk of flowers then burrs. If the stalk has appeared, it is too late for the root- it will be tough and woody. Early spring/ late fall (I prefer early spring) go out with a spade and get the taproot. I have heard that the immature flower stalk is edible, but I have never tried it.

    I have an idea for burdock and ginseng kimchi… can’t wait until spring!

  6. Eric’s avatar

    Yum. I’m looking forward to hearing hear how it turns out.

  7. melanie’s avatar

    Hi there. you inspired me to make some. I LOVE it. the only thing is, mine always goes soft. does yours too? It doesnt have that crunch and texture of my other krauts.
    ??? Thanks! Melanie

  8. Eric’s avatar

    Thanks Melanie, I’m glad you like the kraut. I think that the mushrooms add a softness that is hard to avoid. Are you using a mandoline or shredder to slice the cabbage and the burdock? The thinner you cut those, the cruchier they’ll be. After that, salt level and temperature determine how quickly the veggies will go from cruchy to soft. More salt and lower temperatures mean a longer time till things go soft. But mushrooms are so soft to begin with… I haven’t done this, but I have two ideas. One would be to try fermenting the cabbage and brudock first, then adding the mushrooms once they were already somewhat fermented and eating the kraut not long after. And then second, I wonder what twould happen if the mushrooms were chopped into tiny pieces and added that way? It might just make the kraut gooey, or it might make it more consistent, without sudden gooey bites.

  9. Clay’s avatar

    Quick question… if anybody can answer that would help a lot. I just made some kraut with burdock root in it, but I peeled the root. Like a genius I went online after I made the kraut and read that I should not have peeled it. Since I already made the kraut with the peeled root inside, will it be dangerous to eat the sauerkraut and the root in it? or will it be ok to eat, just not as good as with skin on the root? I didn’t really notice very much discoloration in the root, but I am worried that I will have to throw out my whole batch. Please let me know. Thanks!

  10. Eric’s avatar

    Hi Clay, your pickle should be fine, maybe a little less flavorful but I think it will still taste good. Enjoy!

  11. Clay’s avatar

    Awesome. Thanks a lot!


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