Foraged Fridays: Eating Your Invasives

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Japanese Knotweed. If you’re at all familiar you’re probably as annoyed with it as much as I am. It takes over large areas of your garden, can grow up to 12 feet tall and is impossible to get rid of. You can’t just pull it out of the ground and call it a day. The tubulars run deep. I’ve heard about many unsuccessful attempts of dumping harmful chemicals into the ground to eradicate it.  I’ve learned that the most successful and rewarding way to get rid of Japanese knotweed is to eat it (and followed- up with continuous cutting throughout the summer)! And so I did.

From many various sources, I was told to cook it like asparagus. With this in mind I had the idea that it would taste like asparagus. I was wrong. It tastes a little similar to rhubarb – sour and tangy. It makes a GREAT pie filling instead.

Harvest: The best time to harvest Japanese Knotweed is in early spring when the shoots are no taller than a foot. You can break them off at the base without using any tools. They’re pretty easy to find if you look for the old stalks from last year.

Favorite recipe:  Japanese knotweed and strawberry pie! You can follow any rhubarb pie recipe and replace the rhubarb with knotweed

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4 cups strawberries, washed, stemmed, and halved
  • 3 cups Japanese knotweed, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch crescents
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups sugar (depending on the sweetness of your strawberries), plus extra for sprinkling over crust
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pastry for a double-crust pie
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

I also like to replace the strawberries with rhubarb since they can be harvested around the same time.

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, toss together strawberries, knotweed, sugar, and cornstarch. Prepare pastry for the bottom of the pie; arrange in pie plate. Pour filling into shell and dot with butter. Slice remaining pastry into 3/4-inch strips and lay over pie in a lattice pattern. Brush crust with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until filling is soft and bubbling and crust is nicely browned (if necessary, cover pie edges with aluminum foil for the final 20 minutes to prevent over-browning). Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream – yum!

 

Rachel Andre or William’s Wildflowers – NY

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