Cattails as food

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by ChemicalGal, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. ChemicalGal

    ChemicalGal Monkey+++

  2. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    Heck ya CG! All kinds of edibles on the cattails. I learned of it from a book when I was a kid and made my mom put some of the pollen in flour. Can't really say I remember how it tasted as I was very young, but I seem to remember liking it. She made some noodles with it if I remember correctly.

    Here's a page on it I found.
  3. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    The root is starchy, kinda has a potatoe taste when cooked, just be sure you know what is in the water it comes from. Cattails grow in areas where pollution tends to collect, and absorb this pollution into the root system. The heads have to be harvested when they are young, the mature heads make great pillow stuffing and insulation.
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    True. In fact, there are some areas where they are actually planted to "finish" sewage treatment plant outfalls. There are a number of plantings that are used that way for removal of trace toxins and (especially) metals and other stuff that normal treatment methods don't catch. [winkthumb]

    Regarding water sources, chances are that the cleanest water you'll find will be downstream of a treatment plant that is running right. Trouble with that is that many are not run correctly, even if they are meeting their discharge permit limits. And more often, the limits are a bit higher than would be good, mostly as an economic push. The cleaner you want the water, the more expensive treatment becomes. Obviously.[booze]

    Also, a general rule, short term ingestion of plant outfalls will not hurt you at all, again, if you have reason to beleive the plant is running right. The problem there is that in shtf scenarios, it won't be.[beat]
  5. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    Another good use for them. We do a lot of Catfishing around here. The stink bait doesn't last very long on a hook in a current. So we mix cattails in it and it gives something for the hook to hold on to.
  6. duanet

    duanet Monkey+++

    Lakota used the fluff for diaper lining and sanitary napkins and ate parts of the plant almost all year around, or at least thats what my grandmother said to a 6 year old 50 + years ago, soaked with grease they used the tops for torches, they thatched their shelters with the leaves and she could always tell you what it could be used for at the time she was telling the story.
    Ganado likes this.
  7. ChemicalGal

    ChemicalGal Monkey+++

    Duanet you could be a fountain of information. Why don't you start a thread titled "Things my Grandmother told me"

    We would love it
  8. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Just found a bunch of cattails last night. I would like to get a few to try both edible and craft. I need to find who the owner of the property is before I start digging.

    This bothers me:
    The stand of cattails is located down the slope from a horse barn prior to the pond. I know if you are hungry enough you will eat anything but horse barn run off bothers me. May just be mental.
  9. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Since the original links are kind of old here are a few that work with good information-

    Cattails – A Survival Dinner | Eat The Weeds and other things, too

  10. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    You have to be careful. I watches a ray mears thing on youtube talking about rogers rangers, and he said that camas lilly(?) grows interspersed with cattails, and looks just like it, except for the tops. Said you had to positively identify the cattail, and use your hand to follow it all the way down to the root. Otherwise, you could pull up the other thing, which will kill you.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  11. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    @AxesAreBetter thank you for the very important warning and advice. I didn't find the video you referenced but this is a good start.

  12. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    the reeds can be used for basket making as well...
    Motomom34 and Yard Dart like this.
  13. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    On the pollution question. I will see if I can find the study later.

    About 15 yrs ago I was working with some ranchers and university folks on a project on the snake river. In that area they winter the cattle in feed lots along the river and the was concern over spring run off polution.

    What the study found was that clay soil only need about 3 feet between high water mark and the edge of the feedlot as long as they could confine the water long enough for the soil to absorb the manure. The widest space needed was 6' for more Sandy soil. Sandy soil needed less confinement.

    So unless there is a green stream into the pond it's probably ok. And if their was a green stream the fish wouldn't be doing very well.

    As kids growing up we swam in the same pond the cattle stood in and peed and pooped in. We just didn't swim in the shallow end where the cattle did their thing and my grandpa made us wait several hours after the cattle went thru.

    My point is mother nature cleans alot if there is space in between, soil plants as water do alot of cleaning and have done since the beginning of time
    Motomom34 likes this.
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