Gardeners, homeowners, landscapers and foodies south of the Mason-Dixon line, take heed: Kudzu, the "weed that ate the South," can actually be eaten itself. This highly invasive weed, introduced from Japan in the late 1800s, now covers over 7 million acres of the Southern U.S. and is nearly impossible to kill. Thus, you have an unending supply with which to experiment in the kitchen. Southerners have found dozens of ways to eat kudzu, including making jams and jellies to pickling the flowers that appear in August and September. For your first efforts at cooking it, try steaming or boiling the roots until they're tender and adding soy sauce or miso, as is often done in Asian cooking. The plant is also used in Chinese medicine for treating allergies, colds, fevers and as a digestive aid. Brew a kudzu tea by chopping up a cup of leaves and boiling them for about 30 minutes to treat what ails you.
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