Fleeceflower is one of the more appealing names for that detested invasive plant, Japanese knotweed. It might seem unwise to go with a less common name, but tell me, which sounds more appetizing, a fleeceflower pop, or a knotweed pop? Exactly. The plant has great potential as an edible, and if people are going to eat it rather than poison it, the name has to change. If you are new to foraging, these easy and refreshing strawberry fleeceflower yogurt pops are a great foray into cooking with wild edibles.
The flavor of fleeceflower juice is quite tart, and similar to that of rhubarb, so it’s a natural with strawberries. In this recipe, the strawberry flavor is dominant, with a hint of that rhubarb like flavor. Overall, the pops are sweet-tart. The yogurt and bit of cream cheese lend smoothness, but the texture is more like an ice pop than ice cream. I was very happy with the results, and so was my teenaged son. These pops didn’t last long in the freezer.
About fleeceflower, a.k.a. Japanese knotweed
The bad news is that Japanese knotweed is so abundant and aggressive that it is a serious threat to other species. The good news is that fleeceflower is so abundant and aggressive that it’s easy to find and can be gathered in huge quantities.
Note that you will need young stalks for this recipe, which means stalks from plants less than 3 feet tall. Here in MA, you can find young plants in late April to mid May. Read more about that, and learn to forage for it and juice it here.
Make fleeceflower (Japanese knotweed) juice
Makes a little more than 1 cup of juice
- 3 cups chopped young Japanese knotweed stalks (chopped into half inch lengths)
- 1 and 1/2 cups water
- Simmer the chopped stalks in the water in a medium saucepan for 10-15 minutes.
- Strain out stalks and discard. You should have a little more than a cup of pink, tart juice. But if you have less, fear not. You need only 2/3 cup for the next step.
Note: The strained out chopped stalks can go into compost, but be sure to burn, boil, or microwave any unused plant debris before composting, because Japanese knotweed can take root from just a piece of stem. It is a serious ecological problem, so please take pains to avoid spreading it.
Make fleeceflower syrup
If you do not have Japanese knotweed in your area, please do not plant it! It becomes a noxious weed pretty much anywhere outside of its native range in Asia. You can use another kind of juice, or plain water instead of the juice, to make the syrup. You’ll still get an excellent strawberry yogurt pop.
Makes about 1 cup of syrup
- 2/3 cup fleeceflower juice
- 2/3 cup sugar
- In a small saucepan, bring the juice and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
- Remove from heat and let cool, uncovered, to room temperature.
Strawberry fleeceflower yogurt pops
Makes 10 3-ounce pops
- 3 cups hulled berries (a little more than 3/4 lb)
- 2 tbsp softened cream cheese
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup whole milk yogurt
- 1 cup of cooled fleeceflower (Japanese knotweed) syrup
- Puree the berries in a food processor until smooth.
- In a small bowl, whisk the sugar into the softened cream cheese until smooth, then whisk a few tbsp of the yogurt into that. (If you skip this step and just throw everything in the food processor together, the cream cheese doesn’t blend in well.)
- Add the cream cheese mixture and the rest of the yogurt into the food processor, and process with the strawberry puree until smooth.
- Add the syrup and process to blend.
- Pour into 10 3-ounce popsicle molds. I like this type: Norpro Ice Pop Maker.
- Freeze for several hours before eating.
Shared on: From the Farm blog hop, Farmgirl blog hop #158, Weekend Recipe Link Up #7, Simple Life Sunday #19, Backyard Farming Connection #82, Mountain Woman Rendezvous #48, Motivation Monday #99, Homestead Barn Hop #161, Heritage Homesteaders Hop #14, HomeAcre Hop #73, Mostly Homemade Monday #88