Being an easy mark for farmer's market vendors offering plants that are exotic and short-lived, this weekend I bought a bunch of young Japanese knotweed. (The farmer told me he wouldn't have any more this season, since it grows fast and is inedible after it gets tall.) He suggested steaming it or using it in stew.
When I got home, I put a few handfuls of the stuff into a sink full of cold water to rinse it clean and immediately discovered that parts of the stalk were covered with a thin, translucent, slimy leaf-like film. I stripped off as many of these as I could. Then I steamed the knotweed for a couple minutes, until the stalks had gotten a little tender. The leaves came out well-done. (A better approach might have been to separate the leaves and stalks, steam the stalks first, then add the leaves at the very end.)
Then I ate some, plain, and found it to be quite tart, almost bitter. A little salt helped cut the tartness, but it still didn't taste great, and I wasn't keen on preparing much more in the same way.
So now I'm wondering what I might do with this stuff. The Web site linked below suggests adding it to stews or fruit pies where the tartness will counterbalance the sweetness.
Can anyone offer a recipe that calls for knotweed, or suggest recipes where I might substitute it for another bitter green?