The proliferation of burdock in NW Arkansas has some scrambling to rid the field via chemicals; and though I sympathize with the plight of the farmer, I also know that if the same energy to rid themselves of plant were put into harvesting it, some may actually find they like it. It’s edible.
And it’s palatable.
Steve Brill has a couple of videos on identification and some great recipes.
If on a foraging expedition in the area, try helping some of the local farmers out and offer to harvest the plant for them.
Right now the larger plants may be too tough to harvest, but if you can find some smaller specimen, the stems should be fine.
Harvest before the flower stalk appears.
Here are a couple of recipes from Gardenweb:
1 burdock root
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons mirin(optional)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1. soak burdock (thinly sliced about 0.25 inch) in water enough to cover all the burdock.
2. drizzle 2 table spoons of vinegar in the water.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan over high heat.
4. Add burdock to the pan until cooked through-a bit transparent.
5. Reduced to low heat. Add 3 tablespoons of soysauce, 2 teaspoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of mirin. Cook until the sauce is reduced.
6. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds.
My mother raised us eating a burdock recipe that is delicious. Collect young-ish leaf stems. The white ones are better but if they have that touch of red which they will acquire as they mature, they are still fine. Boil stems with baking soda for 5-10 minutes to rid them of the fuzziness and make them tender and then dip them in flour and egg and saute as a sort of vegetable tempura. My mother comes from an old yankee background (she got the recipe from her mother) but soy sauce is an excellent addition for dipping. This is actually my favorite vegetable of all. I am probably the only person here that would be happy to have a yard full of burdock.