Merry Beltane to you! I hope that you manage a dip in the spring dew or a nibble on some Hawthorn, at some point today.
Yesterday, I led a Mediamatic workshop about how to forage Japanese knotweed for food, drink and some home remedies. I would like to share my JKW shrub recipe with you here.
A shrub is an old fashioned drink, either alcoholic or not, containing some degree of vinegar. The following shrub recipe makes a refreshing non-alcoholic drink composed of a herb syrup and a herb infused vinegar, the herb being Japanese knotweed. There are endless ways to make a shrub but they should all be somewhat fruity and somewhat acidic.
Japanese knotweed (JKW) is not a fruit, it is a remarkable invasive medicinal and edible perennial weed which looks a little like bamboo and belongs to the Buckwheat plant family. Being a close relative of rhubarb it can be used in foods with that flavour in mind.
Infuse the vinegar:
Infuse a jar full of clean chopped JKW leaves and stems in apple cider vinegar for a couple of weeks.
Strain and bottle.
Make the syrup:
Simmer a cup of sugar, a cup of water and a couple of cups of clean chopped knotweed leaves and stems for about 20 minutes.
Cool, strain, bottle.
Make the shrub:
The exact ratio will depend upon the sweetness of your syrup and the sourness of your vinegar but as a rough guide try 3 parts JKW syrup to 1 part JKW vinegar. Add a splash of water. Too sweet, add a dash more vinegar. Too sour, add a dash more syrup.
I will not get into the details of JKW foraging today. Suffice to say, I enjoy carefully foraging it and I love making food, drink and medicine from it. Japanese knotweed is an incredible immigrant which has so much to offer.
Do let me know if you try it and of other things that you like to make with Japanese knotweed.
Health Insurance Update
Since I last posted here, I have been working hard to become fully registered with BATC, a Dutch association for nature based complementary therapists. All has gone smoothly so I am happy to report that full or partial costs of my private natural healthcare consultations (not my walks, workshops and talks) are now covered by health insurance (aanvullende zorgverzekering) for many people here in The Netherlands.
Details on my other website – Mugwort and Marigold
Walks and Apprenticeship
My next public herb foraging walks are advertised on the events page and meetup.
The latest apprenticeship group begins today so the next opportunity for people to join my Urban Herbology apprenticeship course will be 21st June 2023. A small group will be able to join at that time. If you would like to apply to join please see this page for information.