This week, we enjoyed a variety of dishes made with Japanese knotweed. We enjoyed it in appetizers, entrees and desserts and indulged in cooking with this wild vegetable since it’s almost out of season. I did make at least half of dozen of large jars of Knotweed jam for winter time and to use in baking, desserts and for sauces.
The tender shoots of Japanese Knotweed turn into tall, woody plants very fast and are become too tough to eat very fast. You can still, however, use young top leaves as green vegetables in soups, stews or stand- alone side dish. Highly invasive and prohibited plant in the US, it is highly regarded as vegetable and is cultivated in China and Japan. Here we have privilege to harvest it freely, relieving local ecosystems of this burden and saving cities thousands of taxpayers’ dollars in not having to eliminate the weed using expensive herbicides.
Harvest the vegetable, snapping its hollow stems where they break easily. Don’t use stems that already turn woody, they are too tough to chew.
Here are few recipes which I hope will inspire you to take advantage of the last weeks of tender, juicy Japanese knotweed, which when cooked, resembles rhubarb with hints of strawberry and kiwi.
Japanese knotweed Jam
6 cups chopped Knotweed stems
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
Harvest large bunch of Japanese Knotweed, enough to make 6 cups of chopped stems, wash by immersing in water or under spray.
Cut in 1-inch chunks starting at the bottom of the stem, where there are less leaves. Save leafy tops for soups or as a sauté side dish.
Place 6 cups of stem chunks in a large pot, add 2 cups sugar, pinch of salt and 1/2 cup water.
Add some strawberry, kiwi or apple to add extra flavor (optional).
Cook for 20-30 minutes until shoots are very soft; the volume of vegetable will shrink about 40-50%. Upon cooking, the plant will taste more lemony and develop a very pleasant, exotic aroma.
Cool, place in blender to create a smooth jam or pastry filling, or leave it chunky as it is. Transfer to jars and label with date and name of your Jam.
Japanese Knotweed Pie
1 cup of olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup corn meal
1 cup wheat flower
½ tsp. baking soda
8-10 soaked, peeled almonds to garnish
Mix eggs, sugar, salt, olive oil, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth. Mix in cornmeal; add flower and baking soda to create dough that is firm enough to roll, yet soft to touch.
Roll a ½ inch thick crust cover from about ¾ of the dough. Cover the bottom of your baking pan with it, make sure there is enough dough to make raised edges. Spread Japanese Knotweed jam on top, about 1/3 inch thick. Make strips from the remaining dough and cover the pie with them, crisscross to create that classical pie design.
Bake at 300F until pie top turns golden, for about 45 minutes.
Japanese Knotweed Turnovers
Use the recipe for pie crust or use fluffy phillo dough.
Roll ¼ inch thick, cut into squares or circles. Place Knotweed jam on one side, flap over with another and press edges firmly to close up the pastry. Make a dozen of those, place on a backing sheet and bake at 300F for 40 min or until golden brown. They make a healthy delicious breakfast pastry, snack or a dessert.
Japanese knotweed Lemonade
I had extra syrup left over from making Knotweed Jam. The syrup has such a wonderful, fragrant and exotic taste and smell, I decided to turn it into a delicious drink- better than those you can buy in supermarket. Mix ½ cup Japanese Knotweed syrup with 1 gallon drinking water and 3 tbsp. lime or lemon juice. Place in a glass jar and refrigerate. It is high in antioxidants.
Shark with Japanese Knotweed.
I enjoy being part of GabeTheFishBabe Fish club. I love her frozen shark filets that are a product of sustainable catch industry and also are very fairly priced.
I toss shark filets in mixture of flour, salt and oregano and throw it on the skillet with some olive oil. Just before they are done, it takes about 5 min, I through in chopped Knotweed leaves and top stems. As the vegetable cook, its color changes from bright green into a pale green and the pleasant acidic flavor is released.
The lemony flavor of this vegetable accompanies fish in a very succulent way and I encourage you to try it.
I feel very good about eating Invasive weeds. In the case of the Japanese Knotweed, a wild vegetable high in antioxidant Resveratrol, also found in red wine, I feel younger, healthier and more delicious with every bite.
For more info about a variety of edible invasive weeds, visit http://www.FoodUnderYourFeet.com
We ate the planet out of balance; we can eat the planet back to balance.