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Old 03-16-2010, 07:43 AM
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Default How to eat cattail roots



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I am looking for ideas on how to eat cattail roots.

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Old 03-16-2010, 08:08 AM
dylanM dylanM is offline
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More than the root is able to be eaten . Almost the whole plant can be eaten.




http://www.sacredearth.com/ethnobota...ng/cattail.php -this is a very good site .


http://www.cattails.info/Cattail_Recipe.html

Last edited by dylanM; 03-16-2010 at 08:12 AM.. Reason: added link
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:11 AM
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thanks. I was wondering about the fibers that are supposed to be in the roots. That's give me quite a few cooking options. Boiling, roasting, chopped and cooked in tin foil etc.

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Old 03-16-2010, 09:37 AM
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Here is an article I wrote a while back, after harvesting a bunch of roots, showing just a couple of different ways to use them:

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Cattail Roots



Every part of the cattail plant (Typha latifolia) has its use, depending on the season, but today we will talk about the roots.

I use the roots in a couple of ways--boiling and scraping for “mashed potatoes,” and soaking to dissolve the starch for use as flour.

September (when I dug these) is perhaps not the ideal time to collect these roots, as they will be starchier and fuller later in the fall and into the winter with stored energy that the new plants will use to begin growing in the spring. But, too much later and the cattail swamps up here will not only be frozen, but covered in several feet of snow! The roots provide enough starch to be worthwhile, year-round, and in many areas of the country can be harvested throughout the winter.

Cattail roots grow horizontally beneath the water and mud in areas of slowly flowing or still water, and can be found by digging down with your hand or with a sharp stick near the plants. Once you find a root, most of them no deeper than six inches beneath the mud, begin loosening and pulling it until you feel it coming free. Often you can free one to two foot sections, sometimes longer. Despite being a messy, muddy project, the root harvest is not especially difficult or labor intensive, especially if you have found a cattail patch with a good amount of standing water in it, as this will keep the muddy soil much looser and easier to free the roots from.



Even at this time of year, you will find a few tender white buds sprouting from the roots, and they make for a great snack while you work. No fibers in these, and they taste wonderful, like a very mild, starchy celery!



The roots will look mucky and black on the outside, but will be clean and starchy, once you cut or break them open.



Washed roots, being kept fresh in the water as I work



The roots between small, newly emerged shoots are often the plumpest and easiest to pull, but all are good. You will often find, by feel, one root crisscrossing atop another, and it always pays to feel around in the mud beneath each root you pull, to see if there is another.



All done for the day! Approximately fifteen pounds of roots, collected in just under an hour of pulling.



Wear old clothes and boots that you don’t mind getting muddy when pulling cattail roots, as you will often end up submerged in thick black muck up past your ankles, and with mud splashed up to your elbows. Great fun, though slightly less so when temperatures start getting down near freezing!

Shoots can be eaten raw, as can slices out of younger, less fibrous roots, though the root starch becomes more fully digestible after cooking.



Roots and shoots



Roots, all white and starchy and ready to boil



Boiled and split root, fibers scraped to remove the starch for eating. This starch has a taste and consistency very much like mashed potatoes, only “smoother,” and is equally filling!


It is impossible to salvage all of the starch by scraping like this, so I will save the scraped roots to process for making flour.

In part two, we will look at one way to make cattail flour, which contains gluten and can be used for baking, from the root starch.

Cattails grow in almost all areas of the country, from the sub alpine wilderness to the lowland suburbs, and can provide large quantities of food and other useful materials.


How have you used cattail roots or other parts?

Do you have any favorite methods of harvesting and/or preparing them?

Tell us about it!
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:40 AM
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And, here is another way I enjoy fixing the roots:





You can fry them very much like potatoes! They get brown and crispy on the outsides just like potatoes when pan fried, and taste very similar, too. Just a slightly fibrous version of fried potatoes! A fine breakfast.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:59 AM
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I am doing a "survival" weekend in the spring with a friend. I have been researching edible plants and survival skills. I don't want to bring food. I am hoping to eat cattails, small game, fish (from the stocked bass pond lol) and maybe crayfish. We are going to sleep in a lean to.

On my grandfathers farm in norther PA there are tons of cattails. I have not ever really eaten one. several years ago when I was a kid I tired eating the roots raw. It was really fibrous and I wasn't hungry at all.

Thanks for all the good advice. I won't be as hungry now.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:02 AM
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harvesting cattails will be a good excuse to wear my jungle boots and utilities.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:24 AM
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Wow! That's what I call answering a question.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:45 AM
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It looks like you can eat the outer skin of the root. Is this true? Or is it tough and you have to remove the skin?
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:56 AM
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thanx, ive tried this before with little/no success.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:05 PM
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I love cattails. Was taught how to gather them like above, and cook them a couple ways. We made cattail flour but never did anything with it. I guess that some to do in soon.
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:50 PM
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Should have known FOTH would be in here with everything anyone would want to know about eating wild foods.
Way to go, Freedom Of The Hills! Thanks so much.
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Old 04-04-2010, 07:54 PM
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Wow, those fried cattails look awesome! I definitely want to try that soon. I've tried just eating the white part of the stalk. To me it tasted a little like watermelon. But it was tasty.

-Ryan,
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Old 04-05-2010, 03:25 AM
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I like the yellow pollen too in late spring or early summer. There's no preparation necessary to it other than sifting out the bugs! You have to mix it with flour or other dry ingredient because the pollen is made to shed rain and it won't mix by itself with liquids. It makes great pancakes or mixed with other flour for breads.
I like the white flour from the roots, though I think it takes some work to mash the roots and let them settle and then pour off the water and dry the flour. It would be worth it in SHTF and I'm glad I've had the experience of doing it. To me it looks and taste pretty much like regular wheat flour. I didn't know it had gluten in it, though...good to know.
You can pull up on the stalk and the stalk breaks away, makes a good vegetable or soup ingredient.
You have to make sure the water the cattails grow in isn't really gross.
Thanks for the pictures and directions. I knew some of this but not all, and haven't prepared it in as many ways as that. Now I will!
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:50 AM
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I tried some last Saturday. They were not that bad. I pulled a couple cattails up removed the roots and chopped them into small pieces. I boiled them over a small fire in a canteen cup. I didn't put anything on them. They were edible but not great and had a bit of sand in them to aid in digestion. lol
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:57 AM
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Yeah, if you see cattail, chances are good there's fish and frogs around.....that might be more tasty and filling.........btw, when camping, always carry a few MRE to "hold you over"......
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letsgetreal View Post
Yeah, if you see cattail, chances are good there's fish and frogs around.....that might be more tasty and filling.........btw, when camping, always carry a few MRE to "hold you over"......
I was bored so I thought I would do a simulated survival weekend later in the spring. Knife, poncho, fishing stuff, matches and clothes. Not very primitive but I am not going to bring any food. I think I can survive for a weekend on cattails and bass.
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Old 08-15-2011, 05:51 AM
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bump, cause it's a good thread!
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Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:15 AM
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Great thread with great information. Thanks for the bump.
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:26 AM
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Great info. We need more like this.
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