|Peeled knotweed stalks|
The color is not particularly appetizing, olive green, but the flavor is similar to sour apples, without any of the knotweed's typical vegetal qualities. Our daughter, Gillian, really enjoys this snack and we had trouble keeping her away from the fruit leather long enough to take a picture. I tried two different methods of drying the fruit leather: the oven and the dehydrator. We have a cheap 1990's Ronco dehydrator that works just fine, using the fruit leather plastic tray. I then tried spreading the puree on parchment in the Ronco and it worked, but was a little more brittle. Then I spread some puree very thickly on some silicone baking mats on a sheetpan in the oven and it worked, but took the longest to dry. Once I removed it form the drying surface, I just rolled them up to store them in some glass jars.
Update: We finally saved enough money to purchase a good Excalibur dehydrator. This recipe makes enough puree to fill 2-12" square trays lined with the silicone liners. I use the fruit leather setting, about 130º F until the leather has darkened and dried. The old Ronco still works too!
Japanese Knotweed Fruit Leather makes 2c. puree
4 c. peeled (if needed) and chopped Japanese knotweed stalks, leaves discarded
1 c. water
3 T sugar
1. Place the chopped knotweed and water in a large pot and bring the water up to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stew for 10 minutes, stirring often. The knotweed will change color to light green as it cooks and will start to fall apart.
2. Add the sugar and cook 3 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.
3. Puree the stewed knotweed and allow it to cool. Spread the knotweed puree about 1/8" thick in a dehydrator fruit leather tray or on a silicone baking sheet. Dry at 150° F until the fruit leather changes to a darker green and is dry to the touch, or follow the manufacturer's directions for a dehydrator.
|Pile of knotweed peels|