Knotweed Recipes: Turning a Garden Weed into a Tasty Dish
June 18, 2013
Photo credit: wayneandwax
Dietetic Intern Tim Chin writes on the nutritional values of Japanese knotweed and provides two healthy recipes.
You’ve likely seen them running rampant in creek areas and even your own garden, towering over ten feet tall and encroaching upon anything man-made. They are rhizomes – stalky, stem-‐like shoots – which can extend over ten feet underground through rubble and concrete alike.
As you might expect, Japanese knotweed is a pain for most city planners and gardeners. In fact, according to the World Conservation Union, this robust, fast-‐growing weed is among the top 100 worst invasive species. In the United States, Japanese knotweed growth is extensive in 39 of the 50 states. Approximately three billion dollars are spent annually to get rid of this plant!
But did you know that it’s edible? Quite edible indeed! The young shoots possess a lemony, tart flavor reminiscent of rhubarb, only more vegetal. The texture is crisp, crunchy and tender. They are packed with vitamins A and C, potassium, zinc and manganese. It is also a source of resveratrol – although not in a notable therapeutic concentration.
Like rhubarb, knotweed lends itself to both sweet and savory preparations. And best of all, it’s virtually free. Simply go pick some up in nature, and do your part by curbing the knotweed population!
Below are two healthy and delicious knotweed recipes that I’ve come up with. Pick knotweed stalks in early spring for best texture and flavor. Small shoots (under 12 inches) are more palatable and less fibrous or woody.
Have you ever cooked with knotweed? Let us know some of your favorite ways to cook in the comments section below!
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