The dreaded Japanese knotweed was once imported as a garden exotic, but it escaped into the wild and has spread like crazy over much of the world. Once it gets a foothold it requires a declaration of war to get rid of it.. The tiniest little offcut will sprout into a major forest in no time – so don’t throw those spare shoots or offcuts into your compost. Please dont put them in your dustbin either. Burn them, or leave them to dry out completely.
But the good news is that knotweed tastes wonderful and everybody will love you for eating it. It tastes sort of like rhubarb, only better. Not so acidic and cheek clenching. It makes a wonderful rich syrup that is a wonderful foraged ingredient in a Botanist cocktail and is very easy to make….
Snap off the shoots at ground level when they are up to a foot long. A good big handful will do. Remove the unfurled leaves and chop into short lengths. Give them a rinse under the tap and pop them in a pan. Just cover with water (not too much) and add a couple of tablespoons of sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for about ten minutes until it has gone mushy. Put a sieve over a jelly strainer and put the mush in the sieve. Let the liquid drain naturally out of the strainer and through the muslin bag. If you do this it won’t go cloudy.
The mush is also delicious in crumbles, cakes, tarts or as a knotweed fool. Where you used to think rhubarb – think knotweed.