Friday, April 24, 2015

Japanese Knotweed Recipe - Japanese Knotweed Syrup

Spring has sprung and Japanese knotweed season is upon us here in southeastern Connecticut. We furiously gathered huge baskets of shoots that were less than 12" tall, the optimum height before the stalks start toughening up and getting woody. Most was made into fruit leather, which keeps very well once vacuum packed, several batches of jelly were made, more was stewed to keep in the freezer for making muffins and quickbreads, and some was eaten raw with cream cheese and raisins!

Why yes, that IS a biodegradable straw made from last year's knotweed stalks!

Robert made some tasty Japanese knotweed syrup, to which he then adds some carbonated water or canned seltzer for a fizzy, pink drink. The ascorbic acid powder is something we order from a vitamin company in bulk and add it to our syrups to keep them fresh and from crystallizing. It is basically vitamin C in powder form, adding a slightly sour taste to the syrup.

Japanese Knotweed Syrup        makes about 4 cups of syrup

2 1/4 c. water
3 1/2 c. sugar
2 c. chopped knotweed, leaves and tips removed
3 Tbsp. ascorbic acid powder

1. In a saucepot, heat the water to boiling and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and turn off the heat.
2. Add the chopped knotweed to the hot syrup, and cover. Allow the syrup to steep for 24 hours.
3. Filter out the knotweed with a mesh sieve, and filter again through a coffee filter to remove all the debris.
4. Remove 1 cup of the pink syrup, and warm it in a small saucepot. Add the ascorbic acid powder, stirring to dissolve it. Pour this back into the rest of the syrup and stir. Store in air tight containers at room temperature for 3-6 months.


Unknown said...

I love Japanese Knotweed. Last year I made a few different things out of it. It reminds me of a cross between rhubarb and asparagus. I love the idea of making it into a syrup. Thanks so much for the great tip!

Coley said...

Do you think lemon juice could be substituted for asorbic acid?

The 3 Foragers said...

I don't know about lemon juice for long term storage. If you are just going to keep it in the fridge and use it up in a few weeks, it should be fine.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to make this syrup today in Normandy, where it is also rampant. I make other syrups with elderflower and lemon, and my tip to conserve it is pouring into little yoghurt pots and putting it in freezer. Then throughout the summer fill a jug with water and empty a pot into it for flavour and cooling

Unknown said...

This should be citric acid, not ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is vitamin C!

Jacqui Shykoff said...

Dear Three-Foragers,

I have been making Japanese knotweed syrup more or less from your recipe. I use citric acid in the place of ascorbic acid, but other than that it's like yours. I find that it gets kind of mucilagy. On storage it grows a slimy cloud that accumulated in the bottom of the bottle. This is especially the case for the new batch I made lest week from the first growth of knotweed here in the Paris region. It is slimy slimy slimy on top. I refiltered and resterilised it last night because I thought it was a bit much... because, though mucilage is not a problem, as such, I supply a friend with syrups from wild foraged things for her restaurant, and some people are turned off by the "slimy" (even though we know that mucilage is GOOD for us...).

So two questions: 1) Has this happened to your knotweed syrup?
2) Do you know any way to make it not happen?

Thanks in advance for any advice.