Invasive Species Recipes

Remember: you can eat invasives, too!

One of our readers, Amy, was gracious enough to provide a stirfry recipe for Japanese knotweed. She writes,

I first foraged for this invasive in its native country of Japan, where it was growing wild next to streams in the high mountains of the Japanese Alps, as myself and a good friend were backpacking through the wilds of Mt. Myoko. The plant is Japanese knotweed, or Fallopia japonica (which was previously known as Polygonum cuspidatum). In the U.S., it is a terrible invasive that clogs riparian areas, choking out our lovely native species.

I would caution readers from harvesting Japanese knotweed if it is unknown whether the plants have been treated with pesticides. As this is a very difficult invasive to control, the plant often has to be treated year-after-year to be fully eradicated.

The recipe: Harvest only the tender young shoots of the Japanese knotweed. These are found in the spring, and they are no larger than six to seven inches tall. The shoots look similar to asparagus and if they have been growing up through last year’s leaves, they may be white to light green in color. Wash the shoots and snap them into smaller pieces for a stirfry.

To saute, toss in a pan with a light coating of sesame oil and tamari and a small amount of fresh-ground ginger. For added oomph, add minced garlic. Cook for three to five minutes on medium heat and serve immediately, perhaps with freshly cooked jasmine rice and locally farm-raised chicken!

This garlic mustard recipe was selected from The 3 Foragers:

Garlic Mustard Hummus
Makes about 2 1/2 c.

2 c. washed, chopped garlic mustard leaves
1 c. washed, chopped ramp greens (make sure you’re harvesting them all sustainable-like!)
2 c. cooked chick peas
5 T olive oil
4 T lemon juice
2 T tahini
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 T cumin

1. Place the chopped garlic mustard leaves, ramps greens and chickpeas in a food processor. Process until chunky.
2. Add the remaining ingredients, and process until smooth. We like our hummus very thick, but you could add more olive oil. Serve with pitas.

If you’re feeling particularly festive, check out some kuduzu quiche from Eat The Weeds:

1 cup heavy cream
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped, young, tender Kudzu leaves and stems
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ground pepper to taste
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 nine-inch unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cream, eggs, kudzu, salt, pepper, and cheese. Place in pie shell. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until center is set. Makes 4-6 servings.

Be sure to whip out these pulled feral pork sandwiches from!

4 lb. feral pig shoulder roast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1.5 cups tomato ketchup
0.5 cup yellow mustard
Water as needed

1. Coat bottom of slow cooker with vegetable oil
2. Add pork roast to center of slow cooker
3. Stir in all ingredients, making sure to spoon mixture over pork roast
4. Add water until roast is halfway submerged, then add water occasionally to maintain water level
5. Cook low for 6-8 hours until meat easily falls off the bone
6. While still in slow cooker, use a pair of forks to shred pork meat, removing fat as desired
7. Enjoy on a toasted bun.

Optional: Top with coleslaw to enjoy your sandwich “southern style!”


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  1. Diane Price, The Farm at Mollies Branch on January 12, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Thank you for the Japanese Knotweed recipe. I have had the “invasive” plant on my pesticide-free farm in Todd, NC, for years, but just learned what it was two-years ago when a neighbor e-mailed me with its name. I was told to get rid of it at any cost…it would take over my farm and all of the community. After my own research, I found that its root is a common source of resveratrol, the anti-aging, heart health nutritional supplement also found in red grape skins. I plan on trying your recipe as soon as the shoots pop up, then harvesting the roots to dry.

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