Kudzu Quickie

by Green Deane

in Alcohol, Beverage, Edible Raw, Greens/Pot Herb, Miscellaneous, Plants, Recipes, Vines

 

Kudzu, Pueraria montana var. lobata, the vine people love to hate.

 

The government tells me that which grows up the street from me isn’t there.

It’s kudzu, the plant that grows so fast it can follow you like a puppy. It grows not a mile from here. And about eight miles north of here I was collecting it some 20 years ago. Yet the government says it is not in this county. Sometimes I wonder how the federal department of agriculture gets by. Thus I read the USDA plant distribution maps with a skeptical eye. I’m not sure they are updated every century. And if you write to them and tell them their map is wrong… they get very attitudinal. Kudzu, ear tree, wild pineapple, NONE of them grow here officially. The only thing worst than academic botanists who never get into the field is USDA agents who can’t tell a pumpkin from a cherry.

The blossom has a very intense grape aroma

That said, kudzu, Pueraria montana var. lobata, (pew-er-RAY-ree-u MON-tah-nuh var. low-BAH-tuh) is an extremely versatile plant. We just don’t use it enough. But know this, if kudzu grows near you, you won’t starve. Indeed, economic times may make kudzu valuable again. It’s not on menu’s yet but you may wish it were. A couple of years ago there’s was a kudzu methanol car-fuel plant in the works in the U.S. but the plans stalled. The only thing about kudzu I don’t like is the smell of the flowers in bloom: It smells exactly like the very cheap, very intense grape-flavored chemical gum kids chew. You can detect it from hundreds of feet away. Very strong, but good for identifying. If you like that aroma let your nose guide you. (I like the smell of grape, it’s that cheap artificial grape smell I can’t stand.  That’s what kudzu smells like. Kudzu has no choice, so I don’t blame it. But the gum makers do have a choice and they make the wrong one. )

Kudzu was introduced into the United State in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The exposition was to celebrate 100 years of the United States being an independent country. Japan built a garden using Kudzu. Then it was at an exposition in New Orleans in 1883. American gardeners fell in love.  By 1908 Kudzu was being promoted as a forage crop in Florida then it was widely distributed in the 1920s by a Florida nursery. (At one time they proudly displayed a ground zero kudzu plaque.)  It was planted by the conservation corps during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl Era of the 1930s and in the 1940s the government was paying farmers $8 an acre to let it grow for soil conservation. (In 2008 dollars that is $134 an acre.)  It was called “the miracle vine” and cotton was no longer king of the south.

Removing root starch is labor intensive

But, by 1953 even federal employees suspected something was wrong. The government stopped paying to plant it. Kudzu can grow a foot a day and when escaped from cultivation, it can smother and kill an entire forest. By 1970 the government called it a weed and it’s been a “pest” ever since finally getting on the Federal Noxious Weed List in 1997, some 44 years after the alarm was raise.  A half a billion dollars is spent annually trying to contain it. Granted Kudzu is a problem, but “pest” or “resource” is a matter of attitude and policy.  It’s a huge amount of food not being consumed, a resource not being used. What would a country in famine do with those hundreds of thousands of acres of food? I doubt they would call it a noxious weed. Perhaps instead of sending dollars to the starving we should send them nutritious kudzu.

Kudzu’s pods and seeds are NOT edible

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. And while the root starch is edible, it takes hours of pounding to get the starch out, as my friend Doug Elliott wrote in his book, Roots. 

Kudzu, to someone not familiar with it, does have a couple of look-alikes, such as the Desmodium rotundifolium, or the Ticktrefoil.  Kudzu has very hairy young stems, the D. rotundifolium does not… that and that kudzu goes wild and outgrows it. The hog peanut, Amphicarpaea bracteata, may be mistaken for young kudzu vines, but it does not have hairy stems or climbs into trees. The key is to look for hairy stems on the young kudzu, and when it blossoms follow the grape aroma.

The word “kudzu” comes from the Japanese word “kuzu” which means vine. The name itself comes from a particular region of Japan where the people are also called Kuzu. It is not known which came first, the name or the people. Pueraria was named after the Swiss botanist Marc Nicolas Puerari who taught in Copenhagen. Montana means mountainous. Lobata means lobes. Sometimes the plant is called Pueraria lobata, skipping the Montana part. In China it is called gé gēn.

Kudzu is not a famine food but prime fare. We call it a weed because we are not hungry enough… yet. Recipies on bottom.

Green Deane’s “Itemized” Plant Profile

IDENTIFICATION: Kudzu is a climbing, semi-woody, vine that can reach up to 100 feet in length. Stems can reach the diameter of ½ to 4 inches, old ‘stumps’ can be nearly 12 inches across. Leaves alternate, compound with three broad leaflets to 4 inches across. Leaflets may be entire or deeply 2-3 lobed hairy underneath. Flowers are ½ inch long, purple, highly fragrant in long clusters. Flowers in  late summer, seeds pods brown, hairy, flattened, containing three to ten seeds.

TIME OF YEAR: Shoots in spring, young leaves anytime, blossoms July through October, roots best in fall or early spring.

ENVIRONMENT: Likes full sun, heat, plenty of water.

METHOD OF PREPARATION: Nearly too numerous to mention.  Most of the plant is edible in some way except the seeds and seed pods.  They are not edible.

Herb Blurb

In the Orient, it is used to treat dysentery, allergies, migraine headaches, diarrhea, fevers, colds, intestinal problems and angina pectoris, to help with the digestion of food and reduce blood pressure. Kudzu has been used successfully for centuries as a treatment for alcoholism, and this is a main focus of modern kudzu medical research today. Experiments with hamsters and rats, show that a compound in kudzu actually causes the repression of alcohol consumption. This research could have great value in the future for the treatment of alcoholism

 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 pectin

5 cups sugar

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 pectin; bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

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.

Rolled Kudzu Leaves

Kudzu Leaves

1 can diced tomatoes

2 teaspoons salt

3 cloves garlic, cut in half

Juice of 3 lemons

Bacon Grease (optional)

Stuffing ingredients: 1 cup rice, rinsed in water

1 pound ground lamb or lean beef

1 cup canned diced tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon of allspice

Salt and Pepper to taste

Gather about 30 medium-sized young kudzu leaves. Make sure area has not been sprayed with chemicals.

Wash leaves. Drop into salted boiling water. Boil a 2-3 minutes, separating leaves. Remove to a plate to cool. Remove heavy center stems from the leaves by using a knife and cutting down each side of the stem to about the middle of the leaf. Combine all stuffing ingredients and mix well.

Push cut sides together and fill with 1 teaspoon stuffing and roll in the shape of a cigar. Place something in bottom of a large pan so that rolled leaves will not sit directly on the bottom of the pan. Bacon grease is great for seasoning.

Arrange Kudzu rolls alternately in opposite directions. When all are in the pot, pour in a can diced tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 3 cloves of garlic, cut in half. Press down with an inverted dish and add water to reach dish. Cover pot and cook on medium for 30 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook 10 minutes more.

Kudzu Quiche

Makes 4-6 servings.

1 cup heavy cream

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup chopped, young, tender Kudzu leaves and stems

1/2 teaspoon salt

Ground pepper to taste

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1 nine-inch unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cream, eggs, kudzu, salt, pepper, and cheese. Place in pie shell. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until center is set.

Kudzu Tea

Kudzu leaves

Mint

Honey

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.

Deep Fried Kudzu Leaves

Pick light green leaves, 2-inch size.

Thin batter made with iced water and flour

Oil

Heat oil. Rinse and dry kudzu leaves, then dip in batter (chilled). Fry oil quickly on both sides until brown. Drain on paper toweling. Eat while warm.

kudzu powder

Kudzu powder can be prepared on a small scale from wild kudzu with little equipment. Roots no smaller than 1 1/2” in diameter should be harvested during the winter months, December through March. Kudzu root should be washed, cut into approximate one-inch thick slices and pureed in a blender with enough cold water to blend the root well. The puree should be strained and the solid fibers squeezed to extract all the liquid to be used for further processing. The remaining fibers should then be saturated with water, stirred, and strained again, collecting the liquid into the container with the other extract. The brown kudzu liquid should be filtered through muslin or lower grade cotton fabric and left undisturbed in a cool or cold location for 24 hours. The fibers can be composted and the brown liquid should then be discarded as grey water. The clay like substance remaining in the container should be broken up and mixed well, until thoroughly dissolved with clean water once again, and allowed to rest for 24 hours in a cool environment. The liquid should again be discarded and the starch redissolved into a second batch of clean water, this time leaving the mixture for 48 hours in a cool place. The liquid should then be discarded and the layer of gray impurities removed from the starch. The starch is then ready to be used immediately or can be dried to preserve it indefinitely. To dry the kudzu starch, place kudzu chunks on a tray or on layers of paper and set it in a cool, well ventilated place for 10 to 40 days until thoroughly dry. Store dry chunks of kudzu in a sealed container. The dry chunks of kudzu, when pulverized, become kudzu powder.

Kudzu Flower Wine

4 quarts water

6 quarts fresh kudzu blossoms

yeast

4 cups sugar 1 gallon jug 1 balloon

Pick kudzu blossoms when they are dry (mid-day). Wash in pan of water containing 1/2 cup vinegar to kill any bugs. Pour 2.5 quarts of boiling water over the blossoms and stir. Put a lid on the container and stir twice a day for four days.

Strain the liquid through a clean cloth. Press the blossoms to get all the liquid from them. Add four cups sugar. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Pour the dissolved yeast into the liquid. Stir well. Transfer to a one-gallon jug. Add enough water to bring the liquid within 2 inches below the neck of the jug. Attach the balloon and secure it with twine or a strong rubber band. Place jug in a cool dark place that is between 60° F to 75° F.

Every other day gently loosen the balloon and allow the gas to escape and then replace the balloon firmly on the neck of the jug. In approximately 6 weeks the balloon will stop expanding and the wine is done. Strain the wine through a clean cloth and transfer it to airtight bottles. Allow it to sit for an additional two to twelve months before drinking.

Kudzu Root Sucker

In a survival situation, any kudzu root between 1/2 to 3/4 inches in diameter can be washed, cut at both ends to a length of about 6 inches, and then all the exterior bark should be scrapped off. The raw root can then be sucked on to gradually remove all its internal nutrients. Only suck the nutrients out of the root. The root is wood. Wood is NOT digestible. Do NOT eat the wood.

Kudzu Root Tea

The thin, tender young roots can be dug up, washed, diced, boiled, and strained to make a tea.

If you would like to donate to Eat The Weeds please click here.

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen Schultz November 18, 2016 at 09:35

I am planning a kudzu summit in april 2018. Those entrepreneurs interested in Kudzu products, please contact me: karens@walcotool.com
815 263 6611

Reply

Robin Michele Skeen December 1, 2016 at 11:36

Interested in kudzu seed for a 13 year old boys science project. Please check your email.

Reply

Marian Carcache December 28, 2015 at 14:11

Thank you for this wonderfully informative article about one of my favorite “invasives.”

Reply

Skip Pettit September 17, 2015 at 17:46

Greatly enjoyed your informative article. There is a large patch of Kudzo I see on my way to church each Sunday and certain times of the year. It is robust to say the least, but I am enjoyed Garry Tibbo’s insights from Canada, on being able to survive on food sources growing naturally within one mile of my house in Maryland. I was wondering if Kudzo was edible–hence i looked up your article.

PS I wrote you because you inadvertently misspelled “core” It is actual CORPS in this context (Core is like an apple or center) Corps (is military term like Marine Corps or Medical Corps or those who plants Kudzo originally).

You might want to fix it.

Keep up the great work!!!

Best to you

Skip Pettit

Reply

Green Deane September 18, 2015 at 17:19

Thanks. I should have caught that.

Reply

Marie Berg July 20, 2015 at 10:55

Hi Green Dean,
I have an unusual request. How do I acquire a live slip to start on my property? I live at 4300 hundred feet in the dry desert and raise goats and chickens. I gave 3 wells on property which produce unlimited water. The kudzu would be limited to the areas I choose to water. I would cover the chicken and goat pens, now covered by chicken wire, a very large area, my house pergola, and I would cover a car port tithe chicken wire and let the K do its thing. Trimmings would be feed. Have lived in south with poor parents. Know the plant. Like it. Help. I really need this. It could be an ideal plant on high desert as watering is the method of conyainment.

Reply

Tim September 20, 2016 at 11:40

Have the Chicken Little the-sky-is-falling eco-phobes bashed you sufficiently on this subject of transplanting kudzu? Evelyn Hutchinson, a father of modern ecology, more than 60 years ago concluded and articulated that competitive exclusion (the basis of invasive plant dominance) is almost always a result of disturbed environment. The real problem is not the invasive plant but the pollution and disruption of pre-existing habitat that harms native species. So it is with medicine, the disagreement between Pasteur and Berard in the 19th century over pathology. Berard maintained the fundamental cause of illness was not the germ but the “milieu.”
Use this link to track down sightings of invasive species near you!
http://www.eddmaps.org/florida/iphone/

Reply

moOnman_V July 12, 2015 at 16:19

Tried using it for cordage and it’s some pretty strong stuff. The young leaves are delicious raw in a salad.

As far as confusing it with poison ivy it does have the three leaf clusters but kudzu leaves are thicker or should I say a lot wider than poison ivy.

Poison ivy leaves are also glossy whereas kudzu leaves look dull and grassy and fuzzy to the touch.

Reply

Ralph Penunuri June 26, 2015 at 13:43

I’m trying to find glycemic index for kudzu, with no success. I could assume, that since it has macrobiotic dietary/medicinal history, it’s starch is low glycemic. But I won’t, yet… Any info, histories or applicable anecdotes with kuzu – glycemic index, and starch/carb restricted diets?

Reply

Summerdancer April 25, 2015 at 18:47

Given the many uses of kudzu, I am wondering if it can be manufactured into flooring like bamboo. Do you thinks its possible?

Reply

RM McWilliams September 17, 2015 at 00:47

Most any cellulose can be mixed with resin polymers and formed into whatever… but kudzu does not have the long, straight woody wall that bamboo canes have.
By the way, 98% of the cloth products sold as made of bamboo fiber are not actually made of filaments from bamboo, but are made of chemically reduced and reassembled cellulose from bamboo. In other words, it’s just like rayon, a viscose fiber. It is only slightly less harmful to the environment to manufacture, as the cellulose feedstock comes from bamboo, which can regenerate more rapidly than trees, which provide the cellulose for rayon.

Reply

Terry Valentine March 19, 2015 at 13:29

My main trepidation in consuming kudzu would be harvesting poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) by mistake, as they grow in the same types of places; and while poison ivy leaves are usually smaller they also have the trifoliate, lobed appearance and hairy vines. I’m surprised this was not listed among the look-alikes. For those allergic to it, eating poison ivy by mistake could well necessitate a trip to the emergency room. I would want to be well-versed in telling them apart before I attempted to harvest and/or eat kudzu.

Reply

Green Deane March 19, 2015 at 19:53

Thanks for writing…. the two species are quite different. Kudzu is large and poison ivy rarely gets more than 1/3 the size of kudzu. Poison ivy has no fuzz, Kudzu is covered with fuzz. Indeed, kudzu has hair on the edge of the leaves, poison ivy does not. More likely to be confused with Poison Ivy is Vigna lutea or Blackberries…

Reply

Roger February 27, 2015 at 05:42

Kudzu is probably one of my most favorite plants…it has a sentient quality to it when you stand in a field of it admiring the tenacity of mother nature. I also found out that it exudes nitrous oxide so that may explain the euphoric effects I feel around it. I pull it up in great handfuls and feed it to my rabbits. When I have goats I will do the same. Contrary to popular belief it is incredibly hard to get growing. It is possible to take cuttings and use rooting hormone in a typical fashion of other plants and get roots. Transplanting from that has not shown success for my experiments but I think a cloture type humidity container might do the trick. In other areas where excess humidity is the norm it would probably be much simpler to get cuttings to successfully take. In all cases you should be very aware of what you are planting and understand how fast and tenaciously this plant can take hold and plan accordingly. That being said goats and rooting hogs can make short work of under established stands. Avoiding areas with forests or extreme hillsides can also help with future control efforts. It is a miraculous soil conditioner in that it puts nitrogen into the soil etc. Additionally if you live in a freeze zone it will die back at the first sign of frost and provide a really nice green manure/compost.

Reply

Nelson January 10, 2015 at 20:56

Here is an entire book on how to eat kudzu for anyone interested (probably all of you).

https://books.google.com/books?id=jSQzR6_h9yEC&lpg=PP2&dq=book%20of%20kudzu&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

Reply

Dettie October 23, 2014 at 20:44

Nice article. Does kudzu grow in New England? I would love to forage but don’t know much about the plants that grow around Rhode Island. I just recently found out that wild grapes were growing in a small band of woods near our home. Although the aroma and flavor was too strong for me, the fruit was very sweet.

Reply

Green Deane October 23, 2014 at 21:13

It might survive a few months but the winter would kill it.

Reply

Lukkas December 18, 2014 at 00:25

I’m pretty sure so long as a large enough area around the main roots didn’t freeze (such as a massive mulch spread) the plant would die off above ground but bounce back in spring…

Which is actually probably the ideal scenario in which to grow Kudzu. It would survive, but couldn’t conquer anything beyond its reach in one growing season and would be set back to start every year.

Reply

Martha October 7, 2014 at 19:46

Just wanting to know what if you want/need to eat it when leaves aren’t young. Such as now, October. It’s growing like crazy here and I want to do something with it? What if it’s old?

Reply

Green Deane October 8, 2014 at 01:46

Old is tough but edible. Young and tender us better.

Reply

Jon Heckman June 25, 2014 at 13:19

Kudzu, “it’s whats for dinner”. Low germination and one seed per flower sounds good considering the possible demise of pollinating bees. We could perform the pollinating duties once done by nature. I haven’t had the pleasure of dining on Kudzu but as you humoriouly wrote, I’m not hungry enough,—yet.

Reply

Sylvia June 25, 2014 at 12:45

So much great information Thank you so much!!
I live in small town (literarlly), Crestview florida and I want to try this plant , I want to believe we have this plant down here, because I can see places that looks like the pictures, you know? cover by this (similar) plant
but, i don’t know nothing about herbs and I am afraid to poison my kids and myself if is not the right plant.
Who can help to identify the plant for me?

Thank you so much for your help
Sincerely,
Sylvia

Reply

Green Deane July 7, 2014 at 16:06

The state of Florida would not be happy if you planted this plant. You can send me pictures of your plant if you like, or post them on the Green Deane Forum.

Reply

Michael June 24, 2015 at 13:32

Hi Sylvia, I live near Crestview, so can assure that yes, we do have kudzu if abundance. It is a wonderful plant and a terrible plant at one and the same time. Run down to Defuniak Springs and you will see it in abundance down in the hollers.

Reply

Catherine September 6, 2016 at 19:30

Michael, This year I found kudzu growing on the fence near my ceramic shop and since I had herd it could be eaten I first tried to fry some leaves in butter and they were to stiff and rubber and bitter. But since I didn’t get sick and went on Google to see if I could find outmore and though it said to use new leaves it didn’t say how long to cook them. So today I brought home moe and cooked them for fifteen minutes and though they no longer were bitter they were still rubber. I sure would like to learn how to cook them so I can eat them as I love green things like this. God bless & hugs Catherine

Reply

Alicia Dishman June 9, 2014 at 00:15

Thanks for your article. Can you lead me to more recipe’s and medicinal ways to “take” it. Tea tea tea but would like to more. Sooo much on line there’s even a production Company! Named Kudzu Productions so my eyes are killing me looking (MS). Thanks so much!

Reply

Carolyn June 7, 2014 at 23:00

Can’t wait to try some new recipes with kudzu. I have a problem with it, and it keeps creeping closer to my house. Either I have to eat it, or I must acquire a few goats. Does anything kill kudzu?

Reply

Green Deane June 8, 2014 at 19:10

Nuclear bombs…

Reply

bilbo baggins October 29, 2014 at 17:19

Diesel, flame throwers, and pure black acidic hatred might.. just might stun it. But death? Kudzu chuckles at the meer thought of that.

Reply

Lukkas December 18, 2014 at 00:22

Those goats are your solution. Overgrazing is the only practical means of killing a large Kudzu plant. If you catch it while it’s small it can be killed with black plastic, but because of how quickly the plant spreads that’s not a viable solution for long.

Reply

Cat April 11, 2014 at 20:17

What about using the root starch for skin issues?

Reply

Green Deane April 11, 2014 at 20:20

I don’t know. I am not an herbalist. I am a forager. That said root starch is expensive so perhaps it is suited to be a medicine.

Reply

susan April 8, 2014 at 15:09

Lots of great info here. I want to grow some kudzu. I live in Tn and have erosion problems. I have pulled some kudzu and threw it down the cliff last summer. I found a patch this weekend and pulled some up some with roots and made a hole and put dirt over them. Do you think any of that thrown down the hill will come up this spring? Do you think planting it with roots will start to grow? Enjoyed reading your article! Any info will be appreciated!

Reply

Carl in Texas June 17, 2014 at 15:52

If possible, Susan, you should go immediately and repeatedly to insure that none of your plantings succeed. Since you live in TN you should visit Natchez Trace State Park to see what you are inviting into your area. If you like eating plants (plural), then please do this. Or else soon you will be eating only kudzu. It will take over and kill everything else. It is the plant zombie in the U.S.

Reply

Angie in Ky March 9, 2015 at 20:17

Susan, I live in South-Eastern Ky and we have Kudzu in ABUNDANCE!! In fact, during the Spring and Summer months, the hill in front of our house looks like a green “ocean”, lol. Anyway, I find that all it had to do is TOUCH DIRT and it will take root and TAKE OVER if not maintained. A word of warning though….DO NOT plant it anywhere that you do not want covered permanently because I have been trying to get it “under control” since the day I moved in here 4 years ago. Yet, I do have to admit that I had no clue as to the MANY uses it offers until I read this article. Needless to say, I will be trying some of these recipes this Spring and Summer 🙂

Reply

Isaac M.Arnold March 6, 2014 at 22:16

Hey….you can make jelly,tea…

Reply

Karen February 26, 2014 at 21:07

I am using kudzu for my research project in experimental foods along with creating a recipe around it as well. In all my research I have yet to figure out why everyone is crying about a resource that is so readily available. I think they just like to see problems verses solutions. It can be harvested as a edible crop or grazing for livestock not to mention the opportunities for bio-fuels. Lets start a kudzu revolution…hey they all start somewhere 🙂

Reply

Green Deane February 27, 2014 at 08:19

1) Attitudes 2) Lack of information 3) blocking. First it is a weed so folks don’t view it as a bioresource that is renewable. Lots of folks don’t know it can be eaten in various ways except for the seeds. “Blocking” are officials who use their position to maintain the status quo and discourage change for the better. The scientist Mac Planck said science advances one funeral at a time.

Reply

Rebecca Driscoll February 21, 2014 at 09:28

Oh, and I want to ask, almost forgot, sorry, the car fuel plant you mention in your article, where is that and when did it happen please? I told my rep Patrick Mchenry about this as a viable use and he seemed to know nothing about it. Is that in this country?

Reply

Rebecca Driscoll February 4, 2014 at 20:13

I would like to tell Nick that I actually did quit smoking after smoking for 40 years and it was during this time I developed my kudzu chai tea and was drinking the tea every day. But I’ve also been told not to tell people that because it opens up a can of worms or something about medicines. Anyway, I do make the tea. It helped me. It may not help you. But if you want to try it, go to my web site and I’ll send it. Is that okay to say? Unfortunately I’m about out. Don’t worry it will be in again soon.

Reply

Bennie B August 24, 2013 at 14:26

Do you think you could boil the roots in a double boiler and use the liquid for medicinal purposes? This is the way I process my ginseng roots and it makes a very good nutrient.

Reply

Allison June 22, 2015 at 01:22

Yes, but not like that. To make a tincture, take the dried leaves and put them in a dark colored jar. I cut them up because they are so big and I add the stem. Cover them with vodka and let it set for 6 weeks. Shake every day and keep it away from sunlight. Strain it with cheese cloth into a bottle with a dropper and you have a tincture!
My son gets migraines that last for days at a time, so I am hoping this extract will decrease the intensity. Migraine remedy is made from roots, so I need to make a second extract…oops. Both have benefits I am sure. Good luck!

Reply

Michael June 24, 2015 at 13:24

I am not a doctor. I do not play a doctor on TV. This is not intended as medical advice. That being said, my brother-in-law used to get debilitating migraines. He added hot peppers to his diet and hasn’t had a migraine for many years.

Reply

Nick M. August 15, 2013 at 02:32

How much would one have to eat raw or cooked of the root to get the medicinal effect described for anti-alcoholism. They sell an extract in the stores but it is really expensive. If the root is edible, why don’t southern people harvest it or it’s leaves and sell it in the grocery stores?

Reply

Green Deane August 15, 2013 at 05:46

Because it takes about eight hours of steady pounding to get a quarter cup of starch. It is the very young roots that are edible per se. As for selling kudzu leaves, there is so much of it you can’t give it away.

Reply

TanithT December 4, 2013 at 01:05

Or a VitaMix. That will make an instant kudzu root slurry. Then you can use basically the same separation technique described and shown here: http://www.morino-kuzu.com/en to let the starch settle over time in a container of cold water in your fridge. Same story with cattail roots. You want to run it through a strainer that will catch the fibrous bits while letting the fine starch particles through. Muslin cloth works pretty well. The molecular gastronomy folks over at Modernist Pantry are selling kudzu (“kuzu”) starch for $107 per lb right now ($12 for 50 grams), but you can also pick it up at Asian markets for about $15/lb. Which I sometimes do, because making and straining slurries is a bit of a pain, and it’s tough to get a decent starch product without a lot more straining and settling than is practical to take up an entire kitchen shelf with for days on end.

Reply

Joyce May 30, 2013 at 15:06

Dear Green Deane,
Re: your first 2 paragraphs on Kudzu, relating your experience with USDuh, er USDA, was classic and such a delight, that I laughed until tears and continued laughing with merely a memory refreshment.
My cousin in SC scorns Kudzu, though I’ve been telling her it is edible. I think she believes I am smoking something in South Florida. I will send her your website.
I have had Katuk in the yard for a few years (along with Moringa) and I use it is many dishes as well as a smoothie – a very nice green.

Reply

Michelle April 23, 2013 at 20:02

I never even realized that Kudzu had a scent until I found a little candle shop in Tennessee that actually makes a Kudzu candle! XD I loved the fragrance and had to buy one, actually. Mmm. I think the intense grape flavor of candies, gums, children’s cough syrups, and whatnot is GREAT, lol. I guess you either love it or hate it. But if you love it like me…also get a Vineyard candle from Yankee. Heavenly!! ;D

Reply

mbg March 19, 2013 at 21:33

I live in the South, and my property is being EATEN ALIVE by kudzu! What would be the most effective method of “green consumption” to remove it?

Reply

Green Deane March 19, 2013 at 22:25

Goats love it… then milk the goats and sell it…

Reply

RM McWilliams September 17, 2015 at 01:00

Goat meat is an easier way to market kudzu than milking them, getting all the necessary equipment, getting licensed, etc. Goat meat is reportedly the most widely consumed meat in the world, and it is in demand by the many ethnic groups here.

Reply

Theresa March 19, 2013 at 19:47

I haven’t found a mention by you about kudzu being used for for cordage and fiber. I understand that the fiber was woven into the china grass wall covering that we are familiar with. I understand that the fibers were stripped from the stems and knotted together and woven by the Japanese.

You might also check out the excellent book, “21st Century Greens” by Kennedy. It shows a process for extracting the nutrient from leaves to make a more easily digestible food.

Reply

Michael June 24, 2015 at 13:19

Thanks for the reference. I’m downloading it now.

Reply

Victoria September 3, 2012 at 17:30

I love kudzu! It is beautiful…and good to eat. I like it sauteed in olive oil with a little sea salt. I also use the tiny leaves in salads, they have a slight green bean taste, I believe it is good for me. I am poor and it helps with my food budget.

Reply

Michael June 24, 2015 at 13:14

If you are poor and eating kudzu helps with your food budget, then it certainly is good for you. Nutritionally it is good for you as well.

Reply

Mackenzie Sanders November 13, 2011 at 15:18

Can you use the starch in baking? Is it nutritious and/or tasty enough to be worth the effort? I have tried the leaves, both young and old, fried by themselves in a half inch of oil and then salted. They were quite tasty.

Reply

Green Deane November 13, 2011 at 16:07

Generally kudzu starch is not used as the main ingredient for baking because it has no gluten. It is nutritious and tasty. The problem is getting the starch off the fibers in the root. Clearly a mechanical means is better than doing it by hand.

Reply

Chris October 31, 2011 at 23:45

I tried boiling and stir-frying some kudzu leaves. I think “toothy” is an understatement. Would like to try some young leaves but not sure how young they need to be in order to be edible rather than fibrous. I obtained some of the tiny seeds as well which are hard to find. Do they need to be scarified with sand paper in order to germinate?

Reply

Green Deane November 1, 2011 at 06:27

Kudzu, except for the very youngest of stems and leaves has a tooth factor. (Remember “meristem” from this weeks newsletter?) That can be mitigated a little by choping them up fine. As for seeds… only verticle vines produce flowers with seeds. Read blossoming horizontal vines do not produce seeds. And those verticle flowers produce only one or two seeds. Their germination rate is very low because they are tough. Sand papering does increase germination. I would also think a 10-minute soak in battery acid would work as well. It does for pokeweed seeds.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: