Eat More Plants: Recipes

Japanese Knotweed Sorbet

By Gayil Nalls

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Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is an herb that can be easily foraged as it is a fast-growing invasive species that has invaded most habitats. However, it is also known to be nutritious and contains many bioactive substances such as resveratrol, emodin, and polydatin, that have been studied and found to have health-enhancing benefits for humans. Its sour flavor helps make this sorbet a complex gourmet delight.

Consider adding a homemade meringue cookie to provide a perfect complement or top it off with other aerial parts of the Japanese knotweed plant—its leaf or fragrant flower. Both are edible.

Servings: 5


  • 2 cups rinsed young Japanese Knotweed shoots (If stems are longer than 7 inches, peel and dice them)
  • 1 ½ cups freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened apple juice
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup simple syrup (or honey, barley malt, or rice syrup) – adjust to taste
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract


  1. Prepare the Knotweed:
    • If the Japanese Knotweed stems are longer than 7 inches, peel and dice them after rinsing thoroughly.
  1. Cook the Knotweed:
    • In a medium saucepan, combine the Japanese Knotweed shoots with the orange juice, apple juice, and lemon juice.
    • Cover and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the knotweed is tender.
  1. Blend the Mixture:
    • Transfer the cooked knotweed and juices to a blender.
    • Add the simple syrup (or your chosen sweetener), vanilla extract, salt, and lemon extract.
    • Blend until the mixture is smooth and well combined. For a smoother texture, press the mixture through a sieve to remove any fibrous remains.
  1. Chill the Mixture:
    • Pour the blended mixture into a bowl and chill in the freezer until it reaches a stiff consistency, approximately 1 hour. Alternatively, you can chill it in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.
  1. Freeze the Sorbet:
    • Once the mixture is chilled, transfer it to a freezer container and freeze until it sets completely.
  1. Serve:
    • Scoop the Japanese Knotweed Sorbet into bowls and enjoy this refreshing and unique treat!

Simple Syrup Recipe:

  • Combine equal parts water and organic unbleached cane sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat.
  • Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is fully dissolved. Cool before using.

Feel free to adjust the sweetness and flavor according to your taste preferences. Enjoy your sorbet!

Gayil Nalls, Ph.D., is the creator of World Sensorium and founder of the World Sensorium Conservancy.

To read more about Japanese Knotweed, visit “The Dual Nature of Japanese Knotweed” in this June issue of Plantings.

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Issue 36 – June 2024

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