Saturday, April 15, 2006


Japanese Knotweed is an invasive plant that grows in large patches in our region. When I was a kid we called it bamboo (it bears some similarity to bamboo, including large chambered stems). When young it looks a bit like asparagus and the shoots are edible until they become too fibrous (around two feet tall they begin to get too tough to bother with) and taste quite similar to rhubarb.

The Friday after the knotweed expedition mentioned in the previous post we went out for more. This time the four of us harvested around 40 pounds of it. That made for a busy day of processing on Saturday. With the addition of a couple of extra cooks, we ended up making 10 different knotweed dishes - most of them more or less invented on the spot. We made sweet sauce, two savory sauces, juice, stir fry, custard, a tart, a quiche-like fold over, a fruit and granola mixture, and steamed some. I was pleased with the outcome in almost all cases.

Over the course of that Saturday I ended up consuming a lot of knotweed. It is possibly worth noting that, even when still young, knotweed has a lot of fiber which may or may not be a welcome contributor to your digestive system when taken in large quantities. Let's just say I had no trouble with "regularity" that Sunday. (Though I've had knotweed many times in many forms in the past, this was the first time it had such an effect on me.)


Phaedra said...

Sounds like the same deal as rhubarb (those damn strands of fiber!).

Do the Japanese eat knotweed? Although I've been to Japan, I have no idea what some of my host families fed me.

Jonathan said...

I'm not sure if they eat it or not. I suspect they do, though maybe not on a commercial scale. I think it is used for medicinal purposes as well. I just read tonight that it has resveratrol which is the compound in grapes that they think may be responsible for lowering heart disease rates in red wine drinkers.