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Foraging – eating knotweed, garlic mustard and wild leeks



May 5, 2014
Japanese knotweed. Photo Kenneth Allen

Japanese knotweed. Photo Kenneth Allen

How about a knotweed and strawberry crumble? Japanese knotweed is a curse in many cool-temperate parts of the world, so how about EATING IT to keep it under control? Science Friday explores the world of the forager, from garlic mustard to dandelions and wild leeks…

Garlic mustard. Photo lcm1863

Garlic mustard. Photo lcm1863

Professional forager Tama Matsuoka Wong talks with SciFri’s Ira Plato about the world of the forager, including many dos and don’ts. Apparently eating Japanese knotweed is pretty good (it tastes like something between asparagus and rhubarb – now try and get your head around that taste continuum). And garlic mustard makes a great pesto, or you can use the tips in stir fries.

But there are also environmental dangers to consider with foraging, such as the damage that can be done when harvesting native plants like ramp, or wild leeks, during its short early-spring season in the woods of north-east USA. Although there are no restrictions on harvesting wild ramp, its popularity with high-end restaurants and subsequent commercial harvesting could see it populations come under threat.

But for now I’d like to try some of that hickory-bark icecream she mentions……

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