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Strawberry Japanese Knotweed Crumble

Updated: Aug 2, 2022




Yesterday we made a Strawberry Japanese Knotweed Crumble. Knotweed has a similar taste to rhubarb—a lovely combination of bitter, sour, and sweet. For the crumble, we made a knotweed puree from the wild stalks that take over our vulnerable floodplain forest. Pulling invasive plants can be an arduous and seemingly hopeless task. Eradicating knotweed without chemical treatment takes patience. We used this opportunity to get close and friendly with this species, pulling it with purpose and allowing its dirty roots to smudge our bodies and floors as we transformed it into a delicious treat.


What is knotweed?

Japanese knotweed is a perennial herbaceous plant native to east Asia but invasive to Vermont. Due to its spreading root system it can destroy native biodiversity and reduce food and habitat sources for native species.


How to identify?

Japanese knotweed has distinct reddish tinted stalks and shoots. The stalks are hollow and the leaves are heart-shaped.


When to harvest?

For cooking, it is best to harvest young shoots because they are less woody. The tender shoots are usually between 12 and 18 inches tall. Be sure not to compost remains or leave any part of the stem or root on or near the ground.


Ingredients:

The filling:

· 2 cups of strawberries

· 1 grannys smith apple

· 2 cups of young stalks, cut into 1” pieces.

· Sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon


The Crust and Crumble:

· 1 cup granulated sugar

· 3 cups flour

· Pinch of salt

· 1 tsp baking powder

· 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed

· 1 tsp orange juice

· 1 egg


Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking pan with parchment paper or coat with butter/nonstick spray

2. Start by creating the knotweed puree: combine knotweed with ½ cup of water and ½ a cup of sugar in a pot on medium-high heat and stir until knotweed is tender (about 10 minutes)

3. Sieve the puree and set aside until cool

4. Cut the strawberries and apples and mix with the spices BUT keep the apples and strawberries separate. Mix the apple chunks with the knotweed puree

5. Using a mixer, combine sugar, baking powder, flour, and salt. Add in butter, orange juice, and eggs. Beat until mixture is crumbly and butter is evenly distributed.

6. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the pan and flatten with hand. Save the rest for the crumble.

7. Add a layer of puree and a layer of strawberries. Cover with the remaining crumbled dough.

8. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until crumble turns a golden brown. Baking times may vary.




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