Kudzu, has been a popular food in Japan and China for thousands of years. The three parts of the kudzu plant that are edible are the: Young leaves and vine tips, Flower blossoms, and Roots.
However, it’s the tuberous roots that offer this plant’s real premium. These roots are dehydrated and pulverized, and it is this starchy kudzu powder that is used for cooking in myriad ways — from thickening soups and sauces to batter for foods to be deep-fried. It’s high in fiber, protein and vitamins A and D. It is quite a process to extract the root powder but luckily it is a major export for Japan and Korea and you can buy it online from Eden Foods.
Look for a kudzu plant that is NOT near a highway where it will be contaminated by dust and automobile exhaust fumes. Also avoid kudzu that has been sprayed with deadly chemicals to control the growth of the invasive plant.
Beware of insects, birds, spiders, green snakes and wild animals that frequently live in kudzu patches. Talk loudly when approaching a kudzu patch to give the critters a chance to depart before you arrive. Bees also love the flower blossoms so do not provoke them.
AVOID poison ivy and poison oak, which resembles kudzu.
In the early spring and throughout the growing season, harvest the very end of an established kudzu vine where the new growth is forming small shoots and young leaves (called runners). Only the young leaves and vine tips are tender enough for human consumption. The older leaves are good for dolmadas (stuffed leaves) and young vines good for salsa.
Wash the kudzu thoroughly in cool water. Then soak the kudzu for 20 minutes in some clean cool water with a little salt added. Rinse and drain. Cook with them immediately or store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.
Kudzu leaves have soft fuzz on them. The texture of the fuzz is offensive to most people and blanching the leaves makes them smooth.
How to Blanch Kudzu Leaves
Method 1: Place leaves in a pan, and cover with boiling water.
Let sit for 3-5 mins.
Method 2: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Turn off heat and add leaves.
Let sit for 3-5 mins.
Note: Unnecessary step if you are making Kudzu chips
Kudzu leaves and tender vine tips may be boiled the same way you boil spinach and used in your favorite recipes. Recipes can be found in the “Kudzu Cookbook” and “The book of Kudzu.” Both can be brought up in “Google Books”
MY FAVORITES (with tips)
Rice, pine nut, dill stuffed kudzu leaves “Dolmas/ dolmades” Normally done with grape leaves.
Note on preparing LARGE leaves: Many recipes ask you to blanche AND pickle the leaves. I have tried, one, the other and the combination. It all works. I prefer the pickled fresh version, it retains the colour of the leaves and the heartier consistency makes the rolls more durable.
(Some recipes instruct us to cook or steam the rolls again after stuffing and I found this step to be unnecessary)
Kuzukopita. Use any Spanakopita recipe, (can’t go wrong!!) I prefer to make little triangles, but some less time consuming recipes call for laying the phyllo in sheets in a baking pan and layering the filling like a lasagna; Still delicious, but no longer finger food.
Prepare like collard or mustard greens Here is Arun’s recipe: Kudzu leaf, medium-young leaves, Onion, Garlic, Oil, Butter, Vinegar, Bacon (veggie or snorky) Sugar, (brown, raw, earthy, funky or white)
Black pepper, cracked, Cayenne pepper powder (optional), Bouillon or your favorite savory soup base, powdered or paste (nutritional yeast is an excellent option)
Deep fried kudzu leaves (put a ½” of oil in a pan and drop fresh kudzu leaves in a handful at a time, when the tiny boil bubbles disappear they are done! Fish them out and repeat!) Some recipes call for battering them, which works too, but is an extra step and only adds calories. Dehydrating them is the most nutritionally valuable option and they are DELICIOUS!
Quiche! Add chopped and steamed kudzu, and whatever else to your quiche:)
Pesto: Kudzu/Basil/Pine nut/olive oil, garlic, Parmesan; puree
Kudzu Salsa: 1 cup diced freshly boiled Kudzu stems 1 large tomato, diced 1 tablespoon minced red onion 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1?4 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons honey 1 tablespoon cilantro 1 tablespoon lime juice
Kudzu Blossom Jelly: Spoon over cream cheese, or melt and serve over waffles and ice cream. The blossom liquid is gray until lemon juice is added. 4 cups Kudzu blossoms ?4 cups boiling water ?1 tablespoon lemon juice ?1 (1 3/4-ounce) package powered kudzu root,?5 cups sugar. (to add heat include spicy pepper flakes!)
Wash Kudzu blossoms with cold water, and place them in a large bowl. Pour 4 cups boiling water over blossoms, and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Pour blossoms and liquid through a colander into a Dutch oven, discarding blossoms. Add lemon juice and root powder; bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly until THICK and STICKY. Stir in sugar; return to a full rolling boil, and boil, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat; skim off foam with a spoon. Quickly pour jelly into hot, sterilized jars, filling to 1/4 inch from top. Wipe jar rims. Cover at once with metal lids, and screw on bands. Process in boiling water bath 5 minutes. Cool on wire racks. YIELD: 6 half pints.
Kudzu Root Tea
The thin, tender young roots can be dug up, washed, diced, boiled, and strained to make a tea.
Kudzu leaf, Mint, Honey Tea: Simmer 1 cup of finely chopped Kudzu leaves in a quart of water for 30 minutes. Drain and serve with honey and a sprig of mint. If you prefer a sweeter taste use honey to sweeten the tea.
Macha Kudzu Mochi (serves 2) 25g Eden Foods Kudzu Powder (0.88 oz) 15g Granulated Sugar (0.53 oz) 1/2 tsp Matcha – (Powdered Green Tea) 125cc Water (0.53 us cup) Anko – Red Bean Paste, Dairy Cream
Regular Kudzu Mochi – 25g Hon-Kudzu – Real Kudzu Powder (0.88 oz) 10g Kibi Sugar – Similar to Brown Sugar but Less Bitterness (0.35 oz) 125cc Water (0.53 us cup) Kinako – Toasted Soybean Flour Kuromitsu – Brown Sugar Syrup
DIRECTIONS** (Type Kudzu Mochi into YouTube and watch “cooking with dog” poodle in the kitchen!)
Kudzu roots are normally harvested in the winter months. Good kudzu starch roots may weigh up to 200 pounds and be as long as 8 feet. The vast majority of kudzu roots are formed when an established vine touches the ground.
- Kudzu can be efficacious in: relieving pain and relaxing muscles – relief for stiff necks, sore shoulders, achy backs, menstrual cramps, hangovers and headaches, even migraines!?? Soothing the digestive tract – calms and eases digestion, aids in the healing of digestive disorders, combats gas and bloating, diarrhea, constipation, treats nausea and again digestive complications due to hangovers!?? Boosting immunity – helps to aid and reduce fevers naturally and has been linked to healing colds coughs, flu’s, sinus infections, pneumonia, bronchitis and tonsillitis?? Suppressing alcohol cravings – kudzu has even been attributed to creating an aversion to alcohol?? Improving heart health – normalizing blood pressure, lowering heart rate, regulating rhythm and controlling hypertension?? Complexions – clears skin and heals rashes?? Melting stress – relaxes the nervous systems and eases anxiety, stress and tension. It’s the perfect nightcap!?? Calming hyperactivity
Kudzu root-based jelly desert. I found the recipe on a hilarious you tube video called cooking with dog.
Tags: charcoal, drawing, Florida, invassive species, koozu, kudzu, large drawing, pueria, pueria montana, wild edible