Japanese Knotweed Pickles

spicy knotweed refrigerator pickles
Ellen Zachos
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 3 mins
waiting: 24 hrs
Total: 24 hrs 13 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
67 Calories
0g Fat
15g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 67
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 728mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 2g
Calcium 45mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Most people (and all gardeners) consider Japanese knotweed to be a highly invasive plant that crowds out many less vigorous plants, but it can be harvested and used in the kitchen after being pickled.

Please note that this is a refrigerator pickle. No hot water bath is required or recommended because knotweed turns soft (some might even say mushy) when cooked. Which is fine when you're using it in stir-fries or as a rhubarb substitute, but not when you want the crispy crunch of a pickle. Refrigerator pickles should generally be consumed within 3 to 4 weeks and must be stored in the refrigerator. Hence the name.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 9 dried chiles
  • 3 peeled cloves of garlic
  • 6 pieces of wild ginger stolon (about 1-inch long each)
  • 1 1/2 cups Japanese knotweed (sliced into rounds)

Steps to Make It

  1. In a saucepan combine the water, cider vinegar, kosher salt, and sugar. Whisk together over medium heat to dissolve. Then let the brine simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool.

  2. As the brine cools, take 3 sterilized half pint canning jars and place 3 dried chiles in each. Add 1 garlic clove and 2 pieces of wild ginger stolon to each jar. Set aside.

  3. Wash your knotweed stems and remove all the foliage. Take a bite out of each raw stem to be sure they are tender and not fibrous. If they are the slightest bit stringy, peel your stems before slicing them. Slice the stems into 1/2-inch rounds.

  4. Fill each jar with sliced knotweed rounds, leaving one inch of headspace.

  5. Pour the brine on top of the knotweed and seal your jars.

  6. When the jars are thoroughly cool, refrigerate them and wait at least 24 hours to taste your pickles.


  • Knotweed has a lemony flavor that makes these pickles light and refreshing. They're a great addition to an antipasto where their clean, bright taste contrasts with cheese and smoked meats.