japanese knotweed


Spent a delightful day on Sunday foraging in Linn park.  Collected masses of wild garlic, saxifrage and jack by the hedge (to have in salads), comfrey for fritters, sweet cicely and japanese knotweed.  I made a compote out of the japanese knotweed with some vanilla sugar, orange juice and rind and a sprinkle of chopped sweet cicely.  It’s pretty good but to be honest I would rather have rhubarb any day.

The wild garlic went into pasta, potato salad and two different types of pesto.  The first version was with hazelnuts and second with cashew nuts. I think I preferred the smooth sweetness of the cashew nuts.  I have also discovered that my daughter will munch endless amounts of wild greens when we’re in the woods but put them in an actual meal and she won’t touch them!

Wild garlic pesto

makes about 4 jars, alter measurements if you think it’s too thick or want more cheese in the recipe

  • 500g wild garlic (about a carrier bag)
  • 250g lightly toasted cashew nuts
  • 125g Dunlop cheese (or other hard strong cheese)
  • 100ml olive oil (add more if pesto is too thick)
  • salt and pepper

Whizz it all up in a food processor and add oil until you reach the right consistency.  Pour into sterilised jars.  Add an extra glug of olive oil to seal the top and stop air getting in.  We’ll see how long it lasts!


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Invasive species are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity. Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica), is one such culprit, and is classified as an invasive species in Europe and North America. But why has it attained this less than prestigious title? 

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Today at my practice, i found this spectacular weed, japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), it formed a grove of bambu reminiscent canes nearby an abandoned house. I made my way through it and it felt like traveling back in time to my childhood, like walking through the closet of Narnia. In the middle of the groove was a big old pear trea, totally crowded with ripe sweet pears…filled a big bag to make pears in cognac among other things. But this weed got me really intrigued, it looks beautiful, with delicate flowers and big green leaves. The guys i work with told me they cut it all off last year, trying to get rid of it, but seems to have had the opposite effect.
Now i am reading that is it extremely invasive, and troublesome to eradicate. They are doing experiments with a little bug, the psyllid, Aphalara itadori.
But the part that really got me going is that it is eatable! I love finding new eatable weeds :-)
Here´s an article from Selfsufficientish, Eating and drinking Japanese Knotweed

ps: the photo is from the article


Knotweed pickles! Knotweed is an invasive species here, so might as well eat it. it’s EVERYWHERE.

Photo #2 and #3 show you what it looks like growing wild. #2 is the right size, #3 is WAY TOO BIG. You just want the shoots.

I modified this cucumber pickle recipe.

  • Knotweed, about two handfulls
  • some green onions
  • a medium carrot, juliened
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 T vegetable oil

to prepare knotweed for pickles harvest short FAT stalks.  Under 12″ tall, but they should be as fat around as your finger. Snap them off at base.  Remove the leaves and make sure you don’t have any of the root*.  Rinse in cold water. Peel them. You should be able to easily peel them with your fingernails**.  a knife may actually be hard to peel them with. (you can use stalks thinner than a pencil and NOT peel them, but you’ll need to marinate them overnight instead)

Once peeled, cut to about 2″ long and about 1/2″ inch across.  they may well have split while peeling, so just follow the line they cracked along. You can also split them long ways just by pressing them with your hand.

Julienne the carrot. Cut up green onion.

Mix together the vinegar and spices.

In a shallow pan, toast the sesame seeds in the oil til golden brown. take off the heat just before you think its brown enough, since it will continue toasting for another minute or so after you take off heat.  Let it cool down for a minute, than pour vinegar mixture in pan and stir.

In a dish with lid, layer the knotweed, carrot, and onions, then pour some of the mixture in, then another layer of knotweed, carrots, and onion and mix and so on. (otherwise all the sesame seeds end up on top)  Refrigerate for at least an hour, but it will keep for up to two weeks.

These are hot very crunchy pickles, so they’re really intended as a small side dish or garnish. We actually chopped a whole bunch up for pasta salad, which was great.  They’d probably go great on burgers too!

I’ll post the recipe for knotweed syrup tomorrow.

(*knotweed spreads easily, so throw the discarded bits into a pot and either let it dry out in a sunny window for a day or two OR pour boiling water over the whole lot, drain,  then throw it in your compost or trash.  either method should stop it from spreading. you DON’T want this in yard, unless you really want your whole yard to look like photo #3. the whole yard.

**after peeling, use a nail brush on your hands.  it does have a distinct bit of acidity so will sting after awhile.  use the nail brush to make sure you got it all out from under nails. it can be very stringy, so easy to miss a strand if you just used soap and water)

Eat the Weeds: Japanese Knotweed-Strawberry Pie

Yup I said it. Pie.

Who said foraging and eating wild edibles was all about tree barks in tea and wild and bitter leaves in salads?? Us foragers also love a really yummy PIE! {which that’s not to discount the barks or bitters, btw}.

We all know and love a good strawberry-rhubarb pie in the month of June, when the wild berries are ripe or are getting big and juicy in the garden. But did you know…

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Invasive species: Not Knotweed!

Have you seen our latest episode? Invasive species are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity. Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica), is one such culprit, and is classified as an invasive species in Europe and North America. But why has it attained this less than prestigious title?

Japanese Knotweed (Or Knotgrass) did, as the name suggests, come from Japan originally and is what I would call, a bastard of a plant to get rid of. It is a notifiable weed, which means if you see it, you are legally bound to notify your local council and they must remove it. This is due to is being insanely tenacious, it can grow a new plant from a piece of stem about the size of your thumb nail!! It also has roots about 2 metres long so requires more than one application of weed killer. 
What people often forget in all their destruction of this plant, it that we intentionally brought it over to the UK from Japan, and this picture shows that it can be quite pretty when flowering.

A more patient woman might spend many summers digging it out and joylessly applying some pathetic over-the-counter weedkiller. But knotweed is cunning: it can play dead. If the plant suspects it is being poisoned by some back-yard dilettante, it will hunker down for a few seasons and concentrate on growing its root mass below-ground. This is a plant that laughs at the gardener.