Japanese Knotweed Bars – Wild Food Recipe
Sweet and Tangy Japanese Knotweed Bars Recipe
From The Forager’s Feast: How to Identify, Gather, and Prepare Wild Edibles, by Leda Meredith
100% of the tanginess in these yummy bars comes from the Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum a.k.a. Fallopia japonica). This is a highly invasive weed (in other words, very successful plant) that is delicious when prepared correctly. Eat the invasives!
Frozen knotweed works just as well as fresh here; just measure it frozen and then let it thaw completely before proceeding with the recipe.
Makes 16 bars
1 1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped Japanese knotweed stalks
3/4 cup brown sugar, divided
4 tablespoons water, divided
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Lightly grease an eight-inch square baking pan with butter or coconut oil.
- Combine the chopped knotweed stalks, 1/2 cup of the sugar, three tablespoons of the water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often, until the knotweed softens and starts to fall apart.
- Stir the cornstarch and remaining tablespoon of water together until you have a smooth paste. Stir the cornstarch into the knotweed mixture. Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flour, salt, and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Add the butter and stir until you’ve got a crumbly but well-combined mixture.
- Press half of the oat mixture into the baking pan. Spread all of the knotweed filling over the top. Top that with the rest of the oat mixture.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Cool completely on a rack, then cut into bars.
“Fantastic. Informative. Top-notch. Lovely time.” – NYC foraging tour participant
“Identification is the first task of the forager, but what comes next? It turns out, almost everything. How does one select the best berries, the tenderest greens, the freshest mushrooms, and gather them in an ecologically responsible manner? What is the most practical way to clean, crack, or pit them? How can they be stored. In The Skillful Forager, Leda Meredith answers just these questions, laying out the basic skills that she has perfected through decades of gathering wild plants and using them in the kitchen. She leaves readers with a set of practical, simple, healthy, and delicious recipes that can be adapted to a variety of ingredients, wild or domestic–just the way that real home cooks cook everyday food. Because to Leda, that’s what foraged food is.” – Samuel Thayer, author of The Forager’s Harvest
“Personal, visceral, intimate, natural and authentic. All these words describe Leda’s book. You can literally taste melancholy in one dish and joy in another.” – Mia Wasilevich
The Forager’s Feast: How to Identify, Gather, and Prepare Wild Edibles is part field guide covering 50 plants, mushrooms, and seaweeds with a widespread distribution, and part cookbook for turning these wild edibles into delectable dishes.
“Leda Meredith is, in my opinion, the Foraging Goddess, and the next best thing to this book would be to share a field expedition with her! I highly recommend The Forager’s Feast to anyone who has a love of the wild foods.” – Amazon review by Susan C.