CATTAILS for food and other uses - Survivalist Forum
Survivalist Forum

Advertise Here

Go Back   Survivalist Forum > >
Articles Classifieds Donations Gallery Groups Links Store Survival Files


Notices

Advertise Here
Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Survival Food for People with Food Allergies/Intolerance - MSG-free, etc. juneau Food and water 15 09-03-2017 10:44 AM
Food Packaged in Mylar but Stored in Non-Food Grade Buckets Safe? mizer67 Food and water 35 01-08-2017 08:56 PM
Do you read your food labels? -Healthy food or lousy labels? Food Fiction blackkitty General Discussion 26 02-23-2015 04:32 PM
How do I clear cattails from a pond? Bridgetdaddy Farming, Gardening & Homesteading 15 06-25-2013 09:43 PM
How much are my cattails worth a peice? Northern Homesteader Farming, Gardening & Homesteading 5 06-25-2013 06:12 PM
Harvesting Cattails ThoughtfulWolf Wilderness Survival, Hiking and Camping Forum 6 05-12-2012 11:41 AM
Cattails? Natures_music General Discussion 1 09-21-2011 01:31 PM
Cattails...great survival food! OhioMan Disaster Preparedness General Discussion 1 08-15-2011 01:38 PM
new to cattails p4+riot Farming, Gardening & Homesteading 4 10-22-2009 06:15 AM
To those of you who eat Cattails... HOW do you do it? Blacksmith44 Farming, Gardening & Homesteading 7 09-07-2008 04:29 PM

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-05-2008, 04:58 PM
AAPEXX's Avatar
AAPEXX AAPEXX is offline
SURVIVOR
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: GOOD OL' INDIANA
Age: 37
Posts: 1,089
Thanks: 642
Thanked 639 Times in 279 Posts
Awards Showcase
Outstanding Thread Outstanding Member 
Total Awards: 2
Default CATTAILS for food and other uses



Advertise Here

This wonderful plant is a virtual gold mine of survival utility. It is a four-season food, medicinal, and utility plant. What other plant can boast eight food products, three medicinals, and at least 12 other functional uses?
WINTER

SUMMER





The Common Cattail (Typha latifolia) and its brethren Narrowleaf Cattail (Typha angustifolia), Southern Cattail (Typha domingensis), and Blue Cattail (Typha Glauca), have representatives found throughout North America and most of the world. Cattail is a member of the grass family, Gramineae, as are rice, corn, wheat, oats, barley, and rye, just to mention a few. Of the 15 most commonly consumed domesticated plant foods, 10 are grasses. However, of more than 1300 wild grasses, none holds a loftier position as a survival food than cattail. Just about any place you can find year-round standing water or wet soil, you can usually find cattails.
In Euell Gibbons’ Stalking the Wild Asparagus, his chapter on cattails is titled “Supermarket of the Swamp.” As you will see, this title aptly applies to the cattail. However, due to its medicinal and utilitarian uses, we may want to mentally modify the title to “Super Wal-Mart of the Swamp.”

Identification


Cattails are readily identified by the characteristic brown seed head. There are some poisonous look-alikes that may be mistaken for cattail, but none of these look-alikes that may be mistaken for cattail, but one of these look-alikes possess the brown seed head. Blue Flag (iris versicolor) and Yellow Flag (iris pseudoacorus) and other members of the iris family all possess the cattail-like leaves, but none possesses the brown seed head. All members of the Iris family are poisonous. Another look-alike which is not poisonous, but whose leaves look more like cattail than iris is the Sweet Flag (Acorus calumus). Sweet Flag has a very pleasant spicy, sweet aroma when the leaves are bruised. It also does not posses the brown seed head. Neither the irises nor cattail has the sweet, spicy aroma. I have seen large stands of cattails and sweet flag growing side by side. As with all wild edibles, positive identification is essential. If you are not sure, do not eat it.

Corms, shoots, and spikes

In just about any survival situation, whether self-imposed or not, one of the first plants I look for is the cattail. As a food plant, cattails are outstanding and offer a variety of food products according to the season. In early spring, dig up the roots to locate the small pointed shoots called corms. These can be removed, peeled, and eaten, added to other spring greens for a salad, or cooked in stews or alone as a pot herb. As the plant growth progresses to where the shoots reach a height of two to three feet above the water, peel and eat like the corms, or sautee. This food product is also known as “Cossack Asparagus” due to the Russians’ fondness for it.
In late spring to early summer, some of my favorite food products come into fruition on the cattail. Soon after these shoots become available, the green female bloom spikes and the male pollen spikes begin to emerge. These spikes can be found in the center of the plant and form a cylindrical projection that can only be detected when you’re close to the plant. Peel back the leaves in the same way you would shuck corn, and both the male portion above and the female below can be seen. The female portion will later develop into the familiar brown “cattail” seed head from which the plant’s name is derived. The male portion will atrophy into a small dried twig that may easily break off the top of the seed head. Both the male and female pollen spikes can be boiled and eaten like corn on the cob, and both are delicious. The male portion provides a bigger meal at this stage. They have a flavor that is corn-like, but distinct from corn. I cannot imagine anyone finding the flavor objectionable. Both may also be eaten raw.

Pollen and root starch



Later, the male pollen head will begin to develop an abundance of yellow pollen with a talcum powder consistency that can easily be shaken off into any container. Several pounds of this can be collected in less than an hour. The traditional use of this pollen is to substitute for some the flour in pancakes to make cattail pancakes. This also works well with cornbread. Other uses of the pollen include thickeners or flour extenders for breads, cakes, etc.
In late summer to early fall, the tender inner portions of the leaf stalk may still be collected, but the availability of this Cossack Asparagus begins to dwindle, due to the toughening up of the plant. During this period and all the way to spring, the most abundant food product, the root starch, may be harvested. It is so abundant, a study was conducted at the Cattail Research Center of Syracuse University’s Department of Plant Sciences. The chief investigator of the project was Leland Marsh. The reported results were as follows:
Yields are fantastic. Marsh discovered he could harvest 140 tons of rhizomes per acre near Wolcott, NY. That represents something more than 10 times the average yield per acre of potatoes. In terms of dry weight of cattail flour, the 140 tons of roots would yield approximately 32 tons.
To extract the flour or starch from the cattail root, simply collect the roots, wash, and peel them. Next, break up the roots under water. The flour will begin to separate from the fibers. Continue this process until the fibers are all separated and the sweet flour is removed. Remove the fiber and pour off the excess water.
Allow the remaining flour slurry to dry by placing near a fire or using the sun.
Cattail root flour also contains gluten. Gluten is the constituent in wheat flour that allows flour to rise in yeast breads. The Iroquois Indians macerated and boiled the roots to produce a fine syrup, which they used in a corn meal pudding and to sweeten other dishes. Some Indians burned the mature brown seed heads to extract the small seeds from the fluff, which was used to make gruels and added to soups.

Medicinal and other uses


The medicinal uses of cattails include poultices made from the split and bruised roots that can be applied to cuts,wounds,burns,stings,and bruises. The ash of the burned cattail leaves can be used as an antiseptic or styptic for wounds. A small drop of a honey-like excretion, often found near the base of the plant, can be used as an antiseptic for small wounds and toothaches.
The utility of this cattail is limited only by your imagination. The dried stalks can be used for hand drills and arrow shafts. The seed heads and dried leaves can be used as tinder. The seed head fluff can be used for pillow and bedding stuffing or as a down-like insulation in clothing. The leaves can be used for construction of shelters or for woven seats and backs of chairs, which has been a traditional use for hundreds of years.
They can be woven into baskets, hats, mats, and beds. The dried seed heads attached to their stalks can be dipped into melted animal fat or oil and used as torches.
The next time you see “The Super Wal-Mart of the Swamp,” why don’t you do some shopping?

for nutritional facts go to....http://www.nutritiondata.com/




Sources


1. Gibbons, Euell, Stalking the Wild Asparagus. Alan C. Hood and Company, Putney, Vermont; 1962. 303 pp.
2. Harris, B., Eat The Weeds. Barre Publishers, Garre, MA; 1971. 223 pp.
3.http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/duffyk43.html

Last edited by AAPEXX; 03-06-2008 at 02:13 AM..
Quick reply to this message
The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to AAPEXX For This Useful Post:
Old 03-05-2008, 07:31 PM
Auntyv Auntyv is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 123
Thanks: 0
Thanked 82 Times in 39 Posts
Default

Nice info on cattails - have always loved them - my mom used to pick them for decoration in the house and my dad refused to eat them - (I think he ate too many as a kid - grew up poor in the south). Personally, I have started cultivating some dandelions in my empty backyard pots. If you grow some in a protected area that gets southern exposure, you can have the really big ones year round in my area. Just pick the leaves and leave the crown and root intact and it will sprout more leaves. Used to hate the little buggers until I found out you could eat them. I saute them with onion and garlic - very tasty and gets my greens in for the day without a trip to the grocery store.
Quick reply to this message
Old 03-05-2008, 11:24 PM
AAPEXX's Avatar
AAPEXX AAPEXX is offline
SURVIVOR
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: GOOD OL' INDIANA
Age: 37
Posts: 1,089
Thanks: 642
Thanked 639 Times in 279 Posts
Awards Showcase
Outstanding Thread Outstanding Member 
Total Awards: 2
Default

haha awesome... danelions are actually what i'm lookin up right now, along withstinging nettle
Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 03-07-2008, 12:59 AM
anoninfo's Avatar
anoninfo anoninfo is offline
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Iowa
Posts: 10
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default Nettles

Stinging nettles are good food, pick the leaves and young stems and cook them up like you would any other greens, also the roots and leaves can be made into a tea to stop diarrhea, but be careful no to drink to much or it will work to well and cause constipation. And remember to wear gloves, they don't call them "stinging nettles" for nothing!
Quick reply to this message
Old 03-07-2008, 02:22 AM
varmintstalkers's Avatar
varmintstalkers varmintstalkers is offline
The Bad guy
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Texas
Age: 37
Posts: 1,512
Thanks: 154
Thanked 739 Times in 439 Posts
Default

yep, cat tails are still good choices. aapex, dandelions, stinging nettles, and cat tails already have posts that referr to them. please search prior to posting so as to not repeat info, and to help you add new material.

good stuff though, keep up the good work!
Quick reply to this message
Old 03-07-2008, 06:22 PM
tamiijo tamiijo is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 5
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default

I can't remember where I found this, but here's some other info on Cattails.

Edible Parts:
1. The young tender shoots are edible cooked or (if sanitized) raw.
2. At the very top, the stamenate or pollen producing part of the cattail, when green, can be cooked as you would cook corn on the cob
3. The pollen is also an exceptional source of high quality protein. Just beating the pollen out of the stamenate and cook in soup or mix with root starch
4. When the cattail is immature and still green, you can boil the female portion and eat it like corn on the cob. It is good before it turns brown.
5. The rhizome is often very tough but is a rich source of starch. Pound the rhizome (starch laden central core to the root) to remove the starch and use as a flour. The outside layer is entirely fiber and must be peeling or by crushing off. Tease them in a bowl of water until the water becomes ropy and slippery. Let the starch settle out and pour off the water and dry the starch for a nutritious flower. In an emergency, just cooked the root cores and chewed the starch out of them.
Other Uses:
1. The dried leaves are an excellent source of weaving material for making floats and mats.
2. The cottony seeds make good pillow stuffing and insulation.
3. The fluff makes excellent tinder.
4. Dried cattails are effective insect repellents when burned.
5. Soaked in milted wax or melted grease, Dried cattails make good torches.
Quick reply to this message
Reply

Bookmarks



Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Survivalist Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:
Gender
Insurance
Please select your insurance company (Optional)

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:47 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright © Kevin Felts 2006 - 2015,
Green theme by http://www.themesbydesign.net