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Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 14:09 UK
Chef cooks up recipes for Japanese Knotweed

A range of foods made using Japanese knotweed.
Japanese knotweed: it can taste a bit like rhubarb

You can't easily kill it with poison or even by hacking it to pieces.

But have you tried eating it on an oatcake with a bit of Sussex cheese?

A man looks into a spoon containing a recipe using japanese knotweed

The taste test: Ian Palmer found out what diners made of the meal

Japanese knotweed spells doom for many gardeners.

The fast-growing invasive plant can strangle a garden in weeks.

Now Brighton chef Dino Pavledis has come up with another way of dealing with the pest.

His plan, in short, is to eat it.

The chef from Brighton's Terre Terre restaurant worked with academic Dr Paul Beckett to create a range of dishes.

Paul got in touch with Dino Pavledis via Twitter feed and he suggested that the restaurant should try some recipes.

Dino came up with several recipes including knotweed and shallot jelly, served with Sussex Slipcote cheese on an oatcake and knotweed compote; knotweed with ginger, raspberries, sugar and vanilla.

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"You wouldn't identify it because it isn't an identifiable flavour. The wonder of it is that you can use it for sweet or savoury," said Olivia Reid from Terre a Terre..

The knotweed tastes similar to a lemony rhubarb.

Dr Paul Beckett works for Phlorum Limited, an environmental consultancy based at the University of Sussex.

He served up a knotweed crumble to guests at a recent dinner party and asked them to guess what it was made from.

"They all said they thought it was rhubarb, but they knew it couldn't be rhubarb. It has a slightly different texture and I wouldn't be making so much of a fuss over rhubarb crumble," he said.

Since Japanese knotweed was introduced to the UK it has rapidly spread, and the plant currently costs over £150m a year to control and clear.

Removal is difficult and expensive; new estimates suggest it costs the UK economy £150m a year.

If you plan to forage for knotweed, be aware of the laws which govern its collection and disposal.




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