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Week of May 25, 2017 - Cattails, part 1

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2:42 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

 Cattail Side Dish

Part 1


One of the oldest surviving family of plants is the Typhaceae, the cattails. Euell Gibbons dubbed them the “natural supermarket.” The Boy Scouts claim to be able to make “anything” from cattails. Though tough and fibrous, all parts of the plant are edible. And the leaves can be woven into bags, baskets, and mats, which can be used for clothing and shelter. 



If you look online, you will find dozens of recipes for cattail dishes, many focusing on the roots, which are starchy and potato-like. Because there is far less cattail in my area than there was even twenty years ago, I treat it like a mildly endangered plant and avoid disturbing or harvesting the root.





Instead, I pull the shoot, leaving the firmly-anchored root in place. Here is a bunch of cattail shoots ready to be prepared for our meal.




The first step is to cut off most of the leaves. Then treat the cattail shoot like a leek, slitting the heavy green layers so they can be peeled away leaving the sweet white center.


~ Cattails, part 2 ~

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