How to Cook Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed is a tart and crunchy Spring vegetable that can be used in sweet and savory applications. Learn how to prepare, cook, and properly dispose of this wild treat.

What does Japanese Knotweed Taste Like?

To put it simply: they taste like a more vegetal version of rhubarb! The flavor is sour and green, and the texture is crunchy and succulent. Use it where you’d use rhubarb, or anywhere you want a bright, punchy, and tart flavor.

How do I Prepare Japanese Knotweed?

Like any foraged green, proper preparation is key. Ants love Japanese Knotweed, so first be sure to thoroughly rinse the stalks. Then, remove leaves and tips from the knotweed – the best part is the stalks.

How do I cook Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese knotweed can be enjoyed raw, pickled, sauteed, steamed, boiled, roasted, or infused into syrups and vinegars. Its most popular applications are cooked with berries in desserts and compotes, or pickled to use in savory applications. 

Is Japanese Knotweed Invasive?

Japanese knotweed is an introduced species in North America, and is largely considered harmful. The plant easily regenerates and grows from even the smallest pieces of stalk or root, and it’s virtually impossible to fully eradicate it from an environment once it has taken hold.

For these reasons, we always encourage foragers to harvest as much Japanese Knotweed as possible during its short harvest season in the Spring. And for those same reasons, we ask you to heed this rule when cooking with fresh japanese knotweed:

Always cook every piece of knotweed you discard!

Cooking the knotweed effectively kills the organism to prevent regrowth. If you discard raw knotweed in the trash or compost, you risk spreading this plant. As you cook, keep a bowl of scraps and discarded pieces, then boil them for 5 minutes before disposing or composting.

wash thoroughly
remove leaves
trim tips
slice to enjoy raw
or chop and infuse into syrup
or chop and infuse into vinegar
or cook with berries to make a jam
or sautee, steam, or boil to add to salads and grain bowls

How to Prepare Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed is a tart and crunchy Spring vegetable that can be used in sweet and savory applications. Learn how to prepare, cook, and properly dispose of this wild treat.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: how to
Cuisine: Foraged

Materials

  • Japanese Knotweed

Instructions

  • 1. Thoroughly wash knotweed in cool water, then pat dry.
  • 2. Remove leaves from the stalks, then trim off the tips.
  • 3. Cook or prepare according to recipe instructions.

2 thoughts on “How to Cook Japanese Knotweed”

  1. Hey, I was wondering, why do we remove the leaves? I tasted a young leaf and it’s delicious and sour.

    1. JB Here – You can absolutely eat the young leaves! The little ones pictured here would best be used as a raw garnish.
      We usually recommend removing the leaves because for most basic preparations (sautéing, boiling, and other applications of heat) the leaves aren’t a favorite texture for many people – they can end up slimy or stringy when cooked, especially if they’re on the larger side. If you do want to cook with them, just give the leaves a thorough chop. (They’d probably be great in our Foraged Jingalov Hats!) https://foraged.market/foraged-jingalov-hats/

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