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  • Writer's pictureThe Wild Foodie

Japanese Knotweed: From invasive weed to tasty dessert!

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

Japanese Knotweed is a fast growing invasive weed which can burst through concrete and masonry, causing significant damage to properties. However, if you catch the invasive weed in Spring, it can also be a key ingredient in a number of tasty meals and desserts. The taste of Japanese Knotweed has been compared to a lemony rhubarb. The ideal time to eat the weed is mid April to May when the first shoots in spring up to 20cm in height are tender enough to eat. It is important to remember that Knotweed should only be eaten at this time of year as when the plant it is fully grown it has the potential to cause mouth blisters. The invasive weed brings with it several health benefits as Knotweed is an excellent source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. The plant can be added to a number of dishes but its sweet taste is especially complimentary in desserts such as crumbles, muffins and more.

Is Japanese Knotweed Edible?

Yes, Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is edible. However, it is important to note that while it is edible, it is also considered an invasive species in many parts of the world, including North America and Europe. As a result, its consumption and disposal should be done responsibly to prevent its spread.

The young shoots of Japanese knotweed can be harvested in the spring and are typically used in cooking. They have a tart, lemony flavor and can be used in various dishes such as stir-fries, soups, jams, or desserts. The shoots are often compared to rhubarb in terms of taste and texture.

If you plan to consume Japanese knotweed, it is crucial to ensure that the plant has not been treated with herbicides or pesticides, as these chemicals can be harmful if ingested. Additionally, it is advisable to consult with local authorities or experts in your area to understand any regulations or guidelines regarding the consumption and control of Japanese knotweed.

Check out these three great Japanese Knotweed recipes.

Japanese Knotweed Fool

Japanese Knotweed Fool


5 tbsp caster sugar

Mint leaves

Apple juice

450g chopped Japanese Knotweed

300ml double cream

100ml greek yoghurt


1. Cook the Knotweed in apple juice until tender. Strain and blend until smooth and leave to cool

2. Whip the cream until it forms peaks and stir in the Yoghurt

3. Fold in the cool Knotweed and refrigerate mix for 60 minutes

4. Add mint leaves to garnish

Japanese Knotweed Crumble

Japanese Knotweed Crumble


180g flour

110g butter

110g brown sugar

8 tbsp caster sugar

4 tbsp water

1 tsp ginger powder

10 Japanese Knotweed stems


1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and slice the Japanese Knotweed into 7 ½ cm pieces.

2. Sprinkle with water and castor sugar and bake for 10 minutes until tender.

3. Mix with ginger powder.

4. Fold the butter into the flour and sugar to create crumble topping.

5. Place the Japanese Knotweed into an ovenproof dish, pour the crumble topping over the Knotweed and bake for 35 minutes

Japanese Knotweed Muffins

Japanese Knotweed Muffins


Brown Sugar

200ml milk

2 eggs

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

300g thinly chopped Japanese Knotweed

300g plain flour

100g butter

100g golden caster sugar


1. Mix Japanese Knotweed with 3tbsp of golden castor sugar

2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and bake for ten minutes until tender and leave to cool

3. Beat 2 eggs with milk and melted butter

4. Mix plain flour with baking powder

5. Mix the Knotweed with 3tbsp of golden castor sugar

6. Line a muffin tin with paper cases and stir all ingredients together.

7. Divide the mixture between the muffin cases, top with brown sugar and bake for 25-30 mins.


As Japanese Knotweed is classed as “controlled waste”, it must be disposed of at a registered landfill site or you may be prosecuted from the environment agency. You must also ensure the Knotweed that you use is safe to eat. Knotweed often sprayed with herbicides due to its potential damage to properties. Therefore, you must ensure that the plant has not been treated with chemicals before considering cooking. If the plant is safe to eat and disposed of correctly, it can greatly compliment a number of tasty meals and desserts.


  • You can only eat this weed at certain times of the year.

  • Be aware that although Japanese Knotweed can be edible, you may be allergic to new foods. Always take care when trying and eating new foods.

  • Never eat anything that has not been positively identified by an expert.

Guest post by By Jake Ryan of Wise Knotweed Solutions


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