1. Thoroughly wash knotweed in cool water, then pat dry.
2. Remove leaves from the stalks, then trim off the tips.
3. Trim the tips. Cook or prepare according to recipe instructions.
To put it simply: they taste like a more vegetal version of rhubarb! The flavor is sour and green, and the texture is crunchy and succulent. Use it where you’d use rhubarb, or anywhere you want a bright, punchy, and tart flavor.
Like any foraged green, proper preparation is key. Ants love Japanese Knotweed, so first be sure to thoroughly rinse the stalks. Then, remove leaves and tips from the knotweed – the best part is the stalks.
Japanese knotweed can be enjoyed raw, pickled, sauteed, steamed, boiled, roasted, or infused into syrups and vinegars. Its most popular applications are cooked with berries in desserts and compotes, or pickled to use in savory applications.
Japanese knotweed is an introduced species in North America, and is largely considered harmful. The plant easily regenerates and grows from even the smallest pieces of stalk or root, and it’s virtually impossible to fully eradicate it from an environment once it has taken hold.
For these reasons, we always encourage foragers to harvest as much Japanese Knotweed as possible during its short harvest season in the Spring. And for those same reasons, we ask you to heed this rule when cooking with fresh japanese knotweed:
Always cook every piece of knotweed you discard!
Cooking the knotweed effectively kills the organism to prevent regrowth. If you discard raw knotweed in the trash or compost, you risk spreading this plant. As you cook, keep a bowl of scraps and discarded pieces, then boil them for 5 minutes before disposing or composting.