Japanese knotweed is one of the most invasive exotic species. It has been taking over people’s gardens and destroying a lot of homes. People even believe it is the reason why their house is unsellable. It crowds out less healthy plants. People thought it was poisonous because it is an invasive species. Contrary to believe, you can harvest it and use it in the kitchen. It is safe to touch and some of its parts are edible. It is an excellent source of different vitamins. Vitamin A and vitamin C are some. It also contains potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and manganese. Resveratrol which reduces cholesterol is also found in Japanese knotweed.
This tastes a bit like a lemony rhubarb so it is often used in both sweet and savory recipes. Purees, jams, sauces, and fruit compotes are some examples. It is also used in soups, wines, and ice creams.
Japanese knotweed is also best when pickled. Refrigerator pickles do not need a hot water bath. It turns soft and mushy when cooked and it is better to have the crispy crunch of a pickle. You should consume it within 3 to 4 weeks. Store refrigerator pickles in the refrigerator until ready for consumption.
- water (1 cup)
- apple cider vinegar (1 cup)
- Kosher salt (1 tablespoon)
- sugar (2 tablespoons)
- chiles (9 dried)
- garlic (3 peeled cloves)
- wild ginger stolon (6 pieces; about 1-inch long each)
- Japanese knotweed (1 ½ cups; sliced into rounds)
- Combine water and cider vinegar in a saucepan. Add the kosher salt and sugar. Whisk together over medium heat until it dissolves. Let the brine simmer. Leave it for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Then let it cool.
- Leave the brine aside. Get 3 sterilized half-pint canning jars. Then place 3 dried chiles in each jar. Put 1 garlic clove and add 2 pieces of wild ginger stolon to each. Set aside.
- Remove all the foliage of the knotweed stems by washing them. Ensure that each raw stem is tender and not fibrous. You can do that by taking a bite out of each. Peel the stems before slicing if they are a bit stringy. Slice them into ½-inch rounds.
- Put sliced knotweed rounds in the jar until there is only an inch of headspace.
- Fill the jar with brine and seal the jars.
- Let the jars cool and then refrigerate them. You can taste the pickles after at least 24 hours.
Knotweed pickles are light and refreshing. This is thanks to its lemony flavor. It also makes it a great addition to an antipasto. Its clean and bright taste contrasts with the cheese and smoked meats. If you do not fancy knotweed for dinner then there are various other recipes you could try.