We have so much Kudzu in this area it drives me nuts! It grows so fast it’s incredible. I started thinking of ways to use Kudzu so it wouldn’t spread so much. Boy did I find a bunch of things to do with Kudzu especially since everything except the seeds/seed pods are actually edible!
I had previously read about cutting and drying the vines to weave wreaths, and even heard of Kudzu being used to help conquer alcohol cravings, but…there had to be other things that could be used for. There is just so darn much of it! And sure enough…lots of recipes including one that can help combat the spread of new plants:
I found a very similar recipe from The Nerdy Farm Wife Blog: Kudzu Jelly
4 cups of kudzu blossoms (flower only)
4 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 package of powdered pectin (I used low-sugar pectin)
5 cups of sugar (I used 3 cups WITH low-sugar pectin)
Pour the boiling water over the kudzu flowers, cover, and let steep in your refrigerator for around 6 to 8 hours. Strain and discard the flowers, reserving the “juice” for jelly-making. Make according to your pectin’s directions for cooked jelly. (If in doubt, follow the recipe they have for grape juice, just adding the lemon juice to it, and you shouldn’t go wrong.) Process in a water bath canner for 5 minutes. (I did for 8 minutes, because I read that recommended time on one site and I’m OCD enough to do that, just in case.)
The cool thing about the Kudzu Jelly post is that The Nerdy also talks about things related to what she’s doing, similar to the way that The Prairie Homestead does. Oh, and her kitties get into the act when she tries to take pictures. 😉
I also found another article about making Kudzu Blossom Jelly and they call it the very thing that I thought of when I heard about making a great tasting jelly out of the bane of Kudzu and by doing so, cutting down on the number of new kudzu plants that will be able to spread. A Southerner’s Revenge on Unloveable Kudzu:
Southerners rue, curse and unhappily abide kudzu, but few of them ever eat it.
The Internet’s awash in recipes for steamed kudzu leaves and powdered kudzu root starch, yet most folks who live where the Japanese vine’s transformed once-recognizable landscapes into undulating humps of green would no sooner cook up a mess of kudzu than take their tea unsweetened.
Kudzu’s considered — at best — a goat snack in the Southeastern United States, where the plant was introduced in the 1930s as a means of erosion control. Barbara Hyman, a Dallas resident who grew up in the central Mississippi town of Lexington, never met anyone who’d sampled it.
But the idea of “kudzu jelly” lodged in her brain a few years back, and she mentioned the concept to her sister Gina. Gina’s hairdresser had a recipe, so the women began collecting kudzu blossoms, a chiggery task complicated by the purple blossoms’ tendency to clump behind the vine’s broad leaves.
So true!!! They have pictures of the process and the finished product. Much more in the article. Well worth a read.
This guy has a great sense of humor. Great reading. Gotta read his first paragraph in the article and get your laughter going. Here’s some info from later in the article:
Kudzu can be eaten many ways. The young leaves can be consumed as a green, or juiced. They can be dried and made into a tea. Shoots can be eaten like asparagus. The blossom can be used to make pickles or a jelly — a taste between apple and peach — and the root is full of edible starch. Older leaves can be fried like potato chips, or used to wrap food for storage or cooking. With kudzu you can make a salad, stew the roots, batter-fry the flowers or pickled them or make a make syrup. Raw roots can be cooked in a fire, roots stripped of their outer bark can be roasted in an oven like any root vegetable; or grated and ground into a flour to make a thickener, a cream or tofu. Kudzu is used to make soaps, lotions, rope, twine, baskets, wall paper, paper, fuel and compost. It can also be baled like hay with most grazing animals liking it, especially goats. Only the seeds are not edible.