Foraged food: quick pickled Japanese knotweed

Sweet and savoury pickles easy to make and versatile!

One of the things I would love to learn more about is safely foraging for food. There are so many wild edibles out there, if only one knows where to look. Last year, a friend gifted me a bag full of foraged Japanese knotweed and I had fun pickling it several different ways. Here are two of my favourites.


For three one cup/250 mL jars, prepare the brine by bringing to a boil in a small saucepan:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) coarse kosher salt

Savoury Pickles:

Pack one wide mouth 1 cup/250 mL jar with cut knotweed (I stood the pieces up on their ends). Add to the jar:

  • 3 slices fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) coriander seed

Pour in enough hot brine from the saucepan to fill and put lid on jar. Let cool on counter to room temperature then refrigerate.

Sweet Pickles:

Pack two wide mouth 1 cup/250 mL jars with knotweed as above. To each jar add:

  • 3 slices fresh ginger root (no need to peel it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) bruised cardamom seeds

Add 1/2 cup (125 mL) white sugar to the remaining brine in the saucepan and heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved.

Pour brine into the two jars; top up with a bit of water if you need more liquid to fill completely. Let cool on counter to room temperature then refrigerate.

The pickles are ready to enjoy in 48 hours and should keep in the fridge for about a month. Scatter them on salads or rice dishes or enjoy as you would other pickles (on a charcuterie board, with sandwiches, etc.).

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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