Sunday, April 27, 2008

Kill and Eat: Japanese Knottweed

This is Japanese Knotweed. If you see it, destroy it. Or eat it.

Foolishly imported by Central Park architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Japanese knotweed is now taking over the Northeast as an extremely hard to eradicate exotic invasive. It's sheer strength and determination makes dandelions look like pansies.

Once you learn to recognize J.k, you won't believe how quickly it's spreading. In a strange twist, it's also quite tasty.

Simply peel and eat raw the tender shoots that pop up this time of year. The flavor is an exact cross between asparagus and rhubarb and it imparts a delightful crunch and tang. Steamed, it loses much of its zip and tends more toward asparagus. In a pie, I'm told it's a dead ringer for rhubarb, and sweeter. A lover of urban areas, make sure your knotweed comes from soil you can trust. But don't worry, because it will soon be in your backyard.

The root structure can push stalks through the tiniest cracks in concrete, extend 7 meters underground, and survive temperatures up to 30 below, so it's now wonder that J.k. is illegal to spread in the UK and on the World Conservation Union's list of the 100 most invasive plants. Whole armies can spread from mere cuttings or fragments of the rhizomes, so if you're going to dig it up, which you should, get it all. See article for more tips on eradication.

Frederick Olmsted: what hasn't he f*cked up?

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Brendan said...

This touches on a food subject that goes back to my young'unhood: eating the tender parts of grassy things. Growing up amidst green hayfields, my brother and I learned that pulling loose a stalk of hay at one of the joints reveals an inch or two of crisp shoot that tastes of cucumber. An acceptable substitute for real food on those days we'd been told to play outside.
Hay, of course, is not invasive.

tri4time said...

Cool article. I didn't know it tasted a bit like asparagus. There's a recipe for Japanese Knotweed Tea on this resveratrol site for those of you looking for other ways to dispose of it. :)

Japanese knotweed said...

japanese knotweed is so yummy!

Theres so many recipes online to look at, one of my favourites is japanese knotweed crumble: ingredients needed below:

500g young knotweed shoots, including leafy “spears”, lower sections peeled, sliced into 8cm pieces
50ml water
100g caster sugar
200g plain flour, sifted
100g cold butter, cubed
125g brown sugar

It such a nice ingredient to work with, i think it needs to be made more aware to the public as eradicating this annoying weed just became easy!!

Thanks for the post, will be making this one soon :o)

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