A classic delight.
In addition, the uniquely flavoured syrup made as a byproduct of stem candying is wonderful incorporated into ice cream or Panna cotta!
- Burdock stems, peeled & cut into manageable sizes
- Sugar, to the same weight as the Burdock
Place in a saucepan with the sugar and sufficient liquid to more than cover (water/syrup level should come to about 2-3 cm above the stems). You can add some fresh ginger and some vanilla extract if you like.
Boil for 5-10 minutes. You will find that the sections towards the base of the stem are much firmer than the more flexible upper stem half. I usually save the firmer bottom parts for potato cakes and only the more tender parts for candying, but both can be used. If using hard and tender parts it will take 15-20 minutes or more to boil the harder parts to tenderness and only 5 minutes for the tender parts.
Leave in the syrup for 12-24 hours.
After soaking strain the syrup off into a clean pan and bring to a simmer, reducing down by just over 3/4 of the original volume (leave and large firm stems in during the first reduction that aren’t yet tender.
Place all remaining stems into the hot syrup. Leave for 12-24 hours.
Remove all stems and reduce the liquid down to just over 1/2 the original volume.
Place stems in for 12-24 hours.
Finally you should have the syrup reduced down to just over 1/4 of the original volume. Leave for a final 12-24 hour period.
Note, it is very important during the final reduction that you don’t over cook the syrup or the final product will remain sticky. If that happens, simply chop up the stems, add some pectin and make jam instead.
Finally, strain off the final syrup and set aside for other uses. Place the stems on a non stick surface and dry at about 40 degrees celcius for about 10 hours in a food dehydrator.
Alternatively dry in a low oven, solar dryer, on wire racks above a radiator or simply in a warm relatively undusty room.