Despite Japanese knotweed being an invasive plant species notorious for its aggressive growth, the plant has recently been used more and more in many culinary creations.
Below are 4 ideas for recipes which we’ve seen the plant being used for:
1. Ditch the apple for a Japanese knotweed crumble!
To make a Japanese knotweed crumble, harvest young and tender knotweed shoots in the spring. Cut them into small pieces and cook them with sugar and a touch of lemon juice until they soften. In a separate bowl, mix flour, sugar, and butter to create a crumble topping. Place the cooked knotweed in a baking dish and cover it with the crumble mixture. Bake until the topping is golden brown and crispy. Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream for a delightful dessert.
2. New breakfast spread? How about Japanese knotweed jam?
Japanese knotweed can be turned into a tangy and vibrant jam. After harvesting the young shoots, chop them into small pieces and combine them with sugar, lemon juice, and pectin. Cook the mixture until it thickens and reaches a jam-like consistency. Pour the jam into sterilized jars and seal them. This homemade jam can be used as a spread on toast, pastries, or as a filling for desserts.
3. Get back to its roots with some Japanese knotweed stir-fry!
Japanese knotweed shoots can be used in stir-fry dishes. Slice the young shoots into thin strips and stir-fry them with other vegetables and your choice of protein. Create a stir-fry sauce using for instance, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and a hint of sesame oil. The tartness of Japanese knotweed adds a unique twist to the dish, making it a refreshing addition to your meal.
4. Spice up those guilty pleasures with Japanese knotweed syrup!
Knotweed can be a versatile ingredient for cocktails and desserts. Combine chopped knotweed shoots with water and sugar in a saucepan. Simmer the mixture until the liquid becomes syrupy and the knotweed flavour infuses it. Strain out the knotweed pieces, and you’ll have a lovely syrup that can be used in various culinary creations.
Feeling inspired? Remember that while Japanese knotweed is edible and can be used in these recipes, it’s crucial to harvest it responsibly and ensure that you are following local regulations regarding its management and consumption. Always be certain of the plant’s identification and consult local experts if you have any doubts.
Whilst the plant is not inherently toxic, it can accumulate harmful substances from its environment. Some studies have suggested that Japanese knotweed may absorb heavy metals and other contaminants from the soil, which can make it unsafe for human consumption, especially if harvested near polluted areas. Similarly, if it has previously been treated with herbicide, residues of the active ingredient may persist.
Additionally, Japanese knotweed contains several naturally occurring organic compounds, some thought to have beneficial effects on the human body, but to be harmful at elevated dosage. Consuming large quantities of Japanese knotweed is NOT therefore recommended.