Nettle has a new rival on the edible-weed front; Japanese knotweed, often regarded as a problem plant, has proved itself to be quite a culinary treat according to Phlorum’s Edible Japanese Knotweed Campaign in association with Brighton’s vegetarian restaurant Terre à Terre. So before you start to exterminate the plant’s, smooth, heart-shaped leaves and youthful purple streaked bamboo-like stems, consider eating away your Japanese knotweed troubles!
On a recent BBC Sussex radio appearance for the campaign, Dr. Paul Beckett claimed that if Japanese knotweed is brought under control by recently approved field trials to release a knotweed-sucking insect called Aphalara itadori then ”why not use it the same way people use other pot herbs and other native vegetation to cook with?“
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Paul Beckett on BBC Sussex knotweed
The inspiration for Phlorum’s knotweed eating campaign initially arose from the inspirational work of Bun Lai, the chef and owner of Mia Sushi restaurant
who has made incredible dishes with the plant and the sharing of imaginative recipes through social networks and shared with us by Kazuyoshi Nomachi http://twitter.com/im_yutaka
Described with a flavour between asparagus and rhubarb, Japanese knotweed shoots are ready for providing a delightful tang and riveting crunch around late spring each year. Best eaten when the plant is around 6 to 8 inches tall, the knotweed can be transformed via various cooking methods such as steaming, and simmering into delicious dishes such as soups, sauces, fruit compotes and even jam. Although the plants leaves should be discarded, the rind surrounding the stalk of the knotweed can also be used to make a delightful tangy marmalade. Furthermore, besides being a delicious ingredient for cooking, Japanese knotweed provides an excellent source of vitamin A and C, along with its cofactor, the antioxidant rutin.
The plant interestingly also contains potassium, phosphorus and zinc providing the components for a very healthy ingredient.
Following Phlorum’s recent BBC radio appearance, the Japanese knotweed professionals have also been working with the award-winning Brighton-based vegetarian restaurant Terre à Terre (http://www.terreaterre.co.uk/), in order to stir up some delicious recipes with the plant.
This collaboration will also be available for viewers to watch as on Wednesday the 21st of April, a BBC South film crew will be visiting Olivia, Terre à Terre’s Events, Marketing and Design Manager in order to film Japanese knotweed delights being prepared in the kitchen and then tasted at the restaurant. Along with a TV appearance, Phlorum will also be making a further radio appearance on the same day on BBC Sussex Radio station in order to take part in the breakfast show recording of Japanese knotweed being consumed live on air with the breakfast show host, Neil Pringle.