Kudzu the Superfood

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Valerie recently inquired about one ingredient in the hummus recipe, and I’m glad she did. It’s the latest in my personal list of superfoods.

Valerie said:  Just curious how did you came upon kudzu? I live in the South, where kudzu grows wild and everywhere. In fact, people saw if you stand still too long in the South it will grow on you. My friend feeds it to his chickens. I have seen it on menus, but never tried it or looked into the nutritional or healing value. Can you elaborate?

So here is a bit of info about kudzu, which is sometimes spelled kuzu.

Kudzo is an interesting substance for sure. Yes, I am aware that it is the bane of many Southerner’s existence because of it’s fast-growing vine’s ability to overtake a landscape. It’s the root that has the curative powers, as most macrobiotic folks can tell you. As my friend Nigel said when he introduced me to it with his raspberry dessert, “You can make pudding out of anything with it.”

Ground into a powder, the root looks and acts much like the more common thickening agents, corn starch, arrowroot powder and agar agar. Kudzu is about double the cost, but it’s properties as an immune and digestive strengthener impressive and well-documented in traditional medicinal texts.

I hide it in everything I can now: salad dressings, sauces, soups, potato salad– you name it. It’s available on-line and in health food stores.

To use it, add it to cold liquid first to avoid lumps, just as you would corn starch or arrowroot or agar agar. As for the taste, really isn’t any, especially if cooked a bit. Recently, I made an Asian noodle and shellfish dish with some vegetables, spices and stock. My guest left some of the sauce in the bowl, only because he assumed a sauce so rich was surely to be buttery. It was kudzu.I’m going to experiment using it in pie fillings instead of all those cholesterol-laden egg yolks! It should also make up for the extra liquid I encounter when I substitute my favorite sweetener, agave syrup, in recipes that call for sugar.

If anyone out there has experience with kudzu, would you please chime in??

One Response to “Kudzu the Superfood”

  1. Denise Says:

    good ideas for using kudzu. will have to incorporate it in more of my recipes :)

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