Last Japanese knotweed post, promise! At least for this year. The knotweed has mostly grown to the stage where it is too mature to eat. I may be able to get one more harvest; we’ll see.
We recently found another patch of knotweed, only a few miles from our house. We are watching this one even more carefully to make sure it stays there and doesn’t creep any closer to here. We speculate that last year’s rain storms washed knotweed roots to this location from somewhere further upstream.
Apparently once the knotweed grows tall, as shown in this photo, you can still harvest the leafy tips. You look for where the stem snaps off (like removing the woody parts from a spear of asparagus), then discard the leaves. I haven’t tried this myself; I am content to wait until next year’s shoots.
(For my previous posts on Japanese knotweed this season, you can read here and here.)
I took SkyeEnt’s excellent suggestion to use knotweed for chutney. I halved the recipe which I found in the comments here, and still ended up with almost four cups. Everyone enjoyed it at a birthday party we hosted, but there is enough leftover I may need to freeze it. Or can it, if I am feeling extra motivated … although probably not. (Knot?)
I also started a batch of knotweed liqueur, using this recipe. Several months must pass before I can tell you how it turned out. Someone remind me later this summer! I used the thicker stalks for the liqueur so I didn’t have to worry about whether they were tough, or needed to be peeled.
I love the faint pink tinge, already present after a few days of soaking in the vodka. (And if you must know, I used high proof vodka so this will be an especially boozy liqueur.)
I decided to skip the knotweed pickles, because it didn’t make sense to invest time and energy into them when my family won’t even eat homemade cucumber pickles!
The other recipe in which I did knot use knotweed was strawberry rhubarb pie.
While many authors suggest using knotweed anywhere a recipe calls for rhubarb, I wasn’t ready to make that swap in this classic dessert. Maybe next foraging season!
Plus I have a whole year to dream up other ways to eat this very invasive plant. Eat the invaders!
Thanks for feedback, exciting recipes! It’s not so hard to store chutney. Just bring it back to the boil, and fill hot sterilised jars to top. I use a plastic circle (usually included in jamming kits but not used for jam) under the lid if metal to stop the acid eating it. I like to reuse jars with a button top so I know they’ve sealed properly. Chutney is supposed to improve with keeping, although as you discovered is great straight away. My rhubarb is almost ready to harvest…
[…] enjoy bits of my presentation-to-be in several posts this year, including those on garlic mustard, knotweed, and field […]
[…] is a dilemma I face pretty frequently. Like the pawpaw liqueur I tried making last fall or the knotweed liqueur from this spring or come to think of it the milkweed liqueur, mentioned briefly back […]
[…] in defense of the local ecosystem. Especially with the patch just down the road from my house. The knotweed chutney I made in the spring was a hit with everyone who tried it, and I kept portions of it frozen to enjoy throughout the […]
[…] In addition to the edible shoots, the roots apparently have medicinal properties that may be due to the high levels of resveratol. It’s actually grown elsewhere in the world as a crop specifically for the roots. This patch grows in shade and relatively cooler temperatures; another colony of knotweed in a warmer location may already have shoots ready to eat at this point. Bring on the knotweed chutney! […]
[…] left with a cordial you don’t know how to use. This was the unfortunate end of my knotweed liqueur from last year, where it just sat in a cabinet unused because I couldn’t decide how to drink it. Finally I […]