Andy Hamilton’s delicous knotweed vodka

At this time of year Japanese knotweed Fallopia japonica is growing very quickly – 20cm a day. The top 20cm is the most tender and flavoursome so it’s best to catch it early, before it gets woody. It can still be used at a later stage but you have to peel it.

Glass of Knotweed vodka

Knotweed vodka by Roy Hunt

Knotweed can be found along riverbanks, waste grounds and, frankly, anywhere it chooses. To remove it organically you would have to dig 5m down and burn all the soil. The area I forage for it is huge,about half the size of a football field. It was most likely spread from builders’ waste, as is often the case. Before you know it, a 6ft maze makes it impossible for all around to grow, like a supermarket moving into a small town.

Andy Hamilton with KnotweedGrowing at 20cm a day in April

Knotweed is a controlled substance, so take care when transporting cuttings, and be sure to burn any leftovers to avoid breaking the law.

Knotweed Vodka Ingredients 450g knotweed 750ml vodka 225g sugar Gather knotweed shoots and chop into 3cm pieces, then put into a 1 litre jar. Add the sugar and vodka and seal. Shake well and leave for at least 3 – 4 weeks. Strain back into bottle through muslin/cheesecloth and place in a cool dark place for 3 months.

The discarded knotweed can be eaten and, as it tastes remarkably like rhubarb, works well in a crumble – simply follow the recipe for a rhubarb crumble replacing knotweed for rhubarb, weight for weight.

This article was first published in 2011 on the Observer organic allotment blog

About Andy Hamilton

The other Andy Hamilton is a writer and broadcaster not to be confused with the other more successful Andy Hamilton who is a writer and broadcaster. Author of the best selling “Booze for Free” a book about making your own booze, co-Author of The Selfsufficientish Bible a book about living more softly on the planet and a freelance writer contributing to many UK publications such as The Guardian, The Ecologist, Home Farmer and Ethical Consumer. He is also known as the BBC Autumnwatch Forager and make frequent appearances on UK and European TV. He doesn’t appear on panel shows and doesn’t have a black beard. This Andy Hamilton did not write Outnumbered or Old Harry’s Game nor has he ever played in a Jazz band or played Darts. Google Plus
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3 Responses to Andy Hamilton’s delicous knotweed vodka

  1. Pingback: Andy Hamilton (@AndyRHamilton)

  2. James says:

    I tried it with some knotweed that was probably past prime (the leaves were fully opened, some of the stems slightly woody). I liked the taste, but I thought it was waaay too sweet. The knotweed I used was only mildly sour, so that might have been a factor. As this was my first experiment with knotweed, I don’t know what it would have tasted like if I had harvested earlier. With tonic water to offset the sweetness it was quite tasty.
    Anyway, thinks for sharing this recipe!

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