Sunday, May 16, 2010
Knotweed, A Delicious Pest
Posted by Diana Renata
It really is a pretty plant when you take the time to look. Green, speckled with burgundy, large oval leaves, and lovely little, creamy white flowers in late summer.
While the roots are troublesome, damaging foundations, roads, flood defenses, paving and the like, the flowers are sometime prized by beekeepers as an important source of nectar. Knotweed flowers at a time when little else blooms. The honey produced from knotweed is similar to buckwheat honey, though not quite as strong.
4 cups knotweed, sliced into rings
3/4 cup sweetener (optional but recommended)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup coarse pecan/nut flour
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Start by cooking down your knotweed in a pot over medium heat. You don't need to add water since knotweed contains enough on its own. Just put it in the pot, add your sweetener, and stir it occasionally until it cooks down into a compote.
Add your compote to a buttered baking dish. In a separate bowl mix together your coconut, nut flour, melted butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. It should stick together in a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle this over your knotweed mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Japanese knotweed is quickly becoming one of my favorite foods. It's a plant that tastes sweet like fruit, it's abundant, it's good for you, and it grows quickly- as much as 3 to 4 meters in a matter of weeks. Rest assured, there will be more recipes with knotweed in the future. How much more I'll get this season with the deep freeze is unknown, but at least I have yet another crop to look forward to each spring.
More importantly (to me anyways) is that you can eat it! The young shoots are tender and flavorful, tasting a bit like mild rhubarb. The flavor of the raw shoots reminds me more of starfruit- crisp, juicy, just a little bit tart. It makes a lovely snack, though eating too much can aggravate gout, arthritis and kidney stones. I'm not entirely sure how much is too much, however. I can't stop snacking on it. It's delicious! As much as I love eating it raw, my supply was more than I could consume, so I opted to cook some of it for cobbler, and canned the extra for future desserts.