The flowers are passing but there’s still time to make butterbur fuki, a Japnese delicacy. Pick the stems from the most tender looking leaves.
The leaf stems must be prepared and cooked properly. Cut off the leaves and halve the stems lengthways.
Then roll the bundle in salt, on a chopping board. This releases the liquid in the stems and makes them a little less bitter – although it’s specific bitterness is what you want in this dish.
Now blanch them for a minute or two (depending how thick they are) then remove and rinse. Plunge them into cold water while you get your other ingredients together.
When you are ready to go, peel off the outer covering of the stems and chop into pieces about 4 cm long. Then cook in a miso broth with wild garlic or wild leek, a little seaweed or fish if you like.
NB Never eat butterbur raw. Like comfrey and coltsfoot it contains PA alkaloids. It is used in traditional herbal medicine as a cure for asthma and hay fever.