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We tried it this year and I cannot say I'm impressed.
We weren't able to get the rhizomes but we did cut the white part of the stems and cook them.
Honestly, where is the attraction? It tasted like swamp water and had the consistency of rotten potatoes.
Maybe I cooked the wrong, or for too long (used them in a soup which we eventually threw out).
Any suggestions?
 

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younger is better,

If you try the younger plants you will find better taste and texture. Also the leaves can be woven into mats, or used to tie stuff with. And don't over look the Lilly pad, has a tuberous root quite like a Potato.
 

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Visit my website or that of wildman steve Brill (who has a really good section on cattails.) Usually the starch and fiber are separated, the water drained off and the starch allowed to dry. Cattails produce more starch per acre than any other plant and had WWII gone on longer they GIs were going to be eating cattail starch rather than potato starch. Shoots and tender young roots make nice vegetables. Click on the blog beside my name then click on eattheweeds.com then type cattails into the search window. Brill has some good pictures.
 

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Shoots and tender young roots make nice vegetables.
Cattail shoots, steamed, served with some lemon butter...or garlic butter....droooooooool...or if not into the butter thing, spritz 'em, with a touch of soy sauce..better yet, toss 'em in a stir fry...tubers can be sliced and prepared in a scalloped potato-like dish...I add julienne sliced red bell pepper for color, flavor and sweetness (in case the tubers are bitter at all)
I gotta go...hungry now...
 
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