Yes, Carduni Made with Burdock Leaves!
Carduni is an Italian food made with the carduni stems, if you live in Italy, or burdock stems if you live in the US and don’t have real carduni. My Italian Mother-In-Law taught me to make her traditional Carduni with burdock stems in place of the Old World carduni plant back when I was a newlywed.
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Every year I make a few batches of Carduni patties for our dinner table and we all enjoy them with a little cheese or hot sauce on top. You can read the original recipe made with the stems in my post Foraging for Burdock and Making Carduni.
I really enjoy the original recipe, but I don’t like wasting food even when it’s free! And since the burdock leaves are also edible I decided to try using them this spring. In addition to the following recipe for Carduni Made with Burdock Leaves, I also created the recipe Creamy Burdock Soup.
Before you collect and eat any wild edible plants, make absolutely sure that you have identified them properly! Do NOT mistake rhubarb leaves for burdock leaves as rhubarb leaves are toxic!
Boiling Burdock Leaves Before Making Carduni
Burdock leaves have a bit stronger flavor than the stems. If you don’t like very strong, somewhat bitter tasting foods I suggest that you boil the leaves in two changes of water to remove some of that intense flavor. The cooking water may be cooled and used as an herbal drink or for a facial cleanser…something I am planning to try.
Using the Whole Plant
The entire burdock plant is edible, although I don’t recommend nibbling on the seed heads. The roots are best consumed at the end of the first year of growth. I hope to try the flower stems next because those are supposed to be one of the most tender and tasty parts of burdock, once they’ve been peeled!
So, in the spirit of using using the whole plant and making the most of what I have on hand, here is my recipe for Carduni Made with Burdock Leaves. I hope you get a chance to try this!
Carduni Made with Burdock Leaves
- 2 cups prepared leaves packed tightly
- 7 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 2-3 Tbsps parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare burdock leaves: wash leaves thoroughly and chop coarsely, place in large saucepan with 2 or 3 inches of water in the bottom. Bring water to a low boil and stir. Cook until leaves are al dente. Remove from heat, drain, add another 2 or 3 inches of water and bring to a boil again. Turn heat off and drain. (If you like strong flavors, you do not need to change the water…just cook until leaves are tender, then drain.) Allow to cool until you are able to squeeze most of the liquid out. Set aside.
- Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl.
- Add prepared burdock leaves, chopped green onion, bread crumbs, and seasonings. Mix well.
- Pour vegetable oil into a non-stick frying pan and place on medium high heat.
- When pan is nice and hot, spoon batter into pan in patties of about 1/3 cup each. Pat down slightly to shape.
- Fry patties until golden brown, then flip to brown the other side.
- Remove cooked patties and place on a plate covered with paper towels to remove excess oil.
- Repeat with remaining batter.
- Top with hot sauce, ketchup, cheese, or just sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and enjoy!
Foraging for Food from the Wild is a Great Skill to Learn!
There is something very satisfying about knowing how to identify and consume wild edibles. I started foraging as a kid growing up on a farm in Western New York. I read my Dad’s army survival book and went foraging for the edible wild plants listed within.
When my Mother-in-Law offered to teach me how to cook another food from the wild, I jumped at the chance! Cleaning and cooking the burdock stems was a rather tedious process. Over the years I have found that the stems don’t need quite as much cleaning. Now I give them a good wash, chop them up, and cook in one pot of water. She used to change the water and cook again to remove some of the strong flavor. Have I mentioned that I don’t mind strong ‘weedy’ flavors? 🙂
When I made the recipe for Carduni with burdock leaves, I didn’t change the water and cook the leaves twice. The flavor was fine for me, but my husband thought it was a little strong and bitter. So, in the future, I will most likely use 2 changes of water for cooking the leaves ahead of time.
Learning to cook wild edible plants is a learning process. The most important skill is proper identification. Make sure you know what you are eating!
Read about Sunshine’s Adventures with Wild Edibles!
Do you forage for wild foods? What is your favorite wild edible?
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In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org.
The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.
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