Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Knotweed Crisp: follow-up foraging

Went foraging with my sisters and their sons over the weekend. True, it wasn't in the five boros, but Georgia, at Local Ecology, directed me to a tasty dessert recipe after reading my last post here. She asked me to post a follow-up, and in gratitude for sharing the recipe, I do so now. Hope the rest of you forgive me for this rural post, but even a New Yorker has to get out of Dodge sometime. And the dessert tastes just as good with city knotweed, I promise.

Start by enlisting your young nephews to help pick knotweed, even if they insist you're crazy. Clean and chop 4 cups of knotweed stems. Simmer over medium heat to create a tender compote. You won't need to add any water; the stems contain quite a bit of liquid. Add 1/2 cup sugar and move compote to buttered casserole dish.

Assemble crisp topping from 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup quick cooking oatmeal, 1 tsp. cinammon, and 1/3 cup butter. Combine to form a rough, crumbly topping, and sprinkle on top of compote. Bake at 350 for half an hour.

Serve with vanilla ice cream. It's delicious, no matter what the nephews say.

Thanks, Georgia!

April, 28, 2009
P.S. I've just been asked to submit this recipe to the House of Annie: Grow Your Own Roundup. It's a recipe roundup of blog posts written during the month of April that feature ingredients grown in your own garden or foraged from your area. There are some tasty-sounding dishes there...I'm going to try the nettle pasta and ramps quiche!


Nate @ House of Annie said...


How interesting. I've never heard of knotweed before. Very cool that you created this dish from foraged food!

Would you like to enter your dish in our “Grow Your Own” roundup? More information on how to enter is here:



House of Annie food blog

Georgia said...

Ellen Z., you are welcome. Glad the recipe was a success, no matter what the nephew said. Must try the recipe myself someday.

Claudia said...

I've never heard of Knotweed either. Looks like it changes color from green to red as it bakes. What does it taste like? Nephews can't always be relied on for sophisticated taste testing.

Ellen Zachos said...

Claudia, You're right, young nephews aren't always the most adventurous eaters. All the parents and grandparents were enthusiastic, and none of them are wild foods people. My mother said it tasted like rhubarb and I agree. Knotweed can be used interchangeably in almost any recipe that calls for rhubarb. In fact, today I'm starting a batch of knotweed wine based on a rhubarb wine recipe!

As for the red color, I confess I added a little food coloring. I NEVER do that and I wouldn't if I were making it for adults. But one nephew commented that the green compote looked like boogers and since I wanted all the kids to taste the dessert I resorted to subterfuge. Please forgive.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you made a dessert with knotweed. That is so darn cool! What did it taste like? I can't even begin to imagine.

Loved your post about the Yes/No at the green market. I will Tweet about both!


Saara said...

And here we were just pondering all the knotweed when we were foraging for mushrooms last week! I would have never thought to use it for a dessert and haven't even tried it yet. Great inspiration. Thanks!

Andrea Meyers (Grow Your Own) said...

That's a new one on me! I'd never heard of knotweed until reading your post, but now I know what to look for. Thanks for sharing your delicious crumble with Grow Your Own!

Ellen Zachos said...

No, Andrea, thank YOU for hosting this event. I recommend everyone take a look at Grow Your Own (http://www.andreasrecipes.com/gyo/); it's a great resource and lots of fun.

mothersson2002 said...

After over 7 years of trying to eradicate what I was told by fellow Mainers was bamboo, I just recently found out that what I have is Japanease knotwood- and truebamboo is edible too. Well, I tasted a piece raw and it did taste very much like rhubarb-a little less tart- which makes me like it better. I found some recipies here:http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Web%20Recipes/Recipes%20Page.html#Anchor-Japanese-47857
I put just 1 cooked piece in my bean salad last night. It has a lemony flavor which makes it a great lemon alternative which I found http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Knotweed.html

If any of you are interested in frees finds, my site is:

Ellen Zachos said...

Hi Mothersson, Many people confuse knotweed with bamboo, but the taste is very different. Steve Brill has lots of great recipes on his website, but I confess to liking a little more sugar in my desserts...so sue me!

mothersson2002 said...

I read that Japanease knotweed can produce honey and that they are often sold at farmers markets and such. I could not find any recipes however. Any ideas?

Ellen Zachos said...

That's a new one on me; I've never seen anything associated with knotweed (honey or plants) at a farmer's market. It blooms profusely in mid summer so it's possible bees make honey from the flowers, but I haven't ever seen it sold around here. Let us know if you find some, and if you taste it, please report back!

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