Did You Know That You Can Eat This Noxious weed– AND It’s DELISH?
There's probably a dangerously invasive weed in or around where you live and it's not only pervasive by now, it's also entirely edible AND medicinal. Word on the streets is that the stalks taste like rhubarb and can be prepared as such-- as in pies, tarts and other delectable treats. It can also be treated savory and eaten as one would asparagus or dare I say, pickles. If any of this sounds delicious, hold your mule because before we get to the yum, we ought to get the business of its invasiveness out of the way.
WHAT IS JAPANESE KNOTWEED?
According to everyone's favorite hit or miss information source, Wikipedia:
Reynoutria japonica, synonyms Fallopia japonica and Polygonum cuspidatum, is a species of herbaceousperennial plant in the knotweed and buckwheat family Polygonaceae. Common names include Japanese knotweed and Asian knotweed. It is native to East Asia in Japan, China and Korea. In North America and Europe, the species has successfully established itself in numerous habitats, and is classified as a pest and invasive species in several countries.
IS JAPANESE KNOTWEED A VEGETAL PROPERTY PEST?
Yes. And No. Make no mistake, Japanese Knotweed, not unlike bamboo (no relation), will take over and expand itself without limits any and everywhere it finds itself planted. By the way, it plants itself. Plus, its root system is so involved it takes over the ground space other plants could occupy. And once it gets going, it grows so high, it hogs the sunlight from beneficial native species that may have wanted to grow nearby. Which is the true problem. Japanese Knotweed will, virtually without exception, take down every other plant in its vicinity.
Plus, to remove it, there's a special HAZMAT-level strategy one must follow to dispose of it.
The point is, Japanese Knotweed is not to be played with. But it is to be eaten. Through the growing "foraging foodie" movement we're learning more and more that even if its impractical to eradicate Japanese Knotweed altogether, we can, potentially eat it into submission. Or something. Because as already mentioned, JK may be noxious, but its also delish.
Feel free to check out this recipe for Knotweed Fridge Pickles. And this recipe of Sour Japanese Knotweed Soup. If you have a sweet tooth, here's a recipe for Japanese Knotweed Sorbet or Mousse Cake and fruit leather, compliments of Forage Chef.
Coming Up... the medicinal uses of Japanese Knotweed.
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