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Thread: Cattail

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    Senior Member Asger's Avatar
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    Default Cattail

    Hello everybody

    First of all, sorry for this stupid question, but i was wondering what part of cattail is edible in the fall, and how should i cook it for the best flavour?


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    In the fall the only part of the cattail that is useful would be the rootstock. in the late summer little horn shaped sprouts form at the end of the roots and remain through-out winter. you can eat them in a salad or boil them with butter. In late fall/winter the rootstocks become filled with starch. the only way to use them is to wash/peel them then soak them in cold water to remove the starch. once dried the starch can be used for flour.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum BCK. Why not forage your way over to the Introductions and tell us a bit about yourself?

    http://www.wilderness-survival.net/f...ead.php?t=7813

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    Senior Member wareagle69's Avatar
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    out of curiosity how do you dry the starch and how many roots do i need to collect and process to have a useable amount of flower, and how does cattail flower taste?
    also maybe a silly question but, does cat tail have any poisonous look a likes?
    thanks for the help......
    Last edited by wareagle69; 09-25-2010 at 04:41 PM. Reason: spelling
    always be prepared-prepare all ways
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    Senior Member Asger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by backcountrykid View Post
    In the fall the only part of the cattail that is useful would be the rootstock. in the late summer little horn shaped sprouts form at the end of the roots and remain through-out winter. you can eat them in a salad or boil them with butter. In late fall/winter the rootstocks become filled with starch. the only way to use them is to wash/peel them then soak them in cold water to remove the starch. once dried the starch can be used for flour.
    thanks alot, ill go forage for some cattail tomorrow and prepare them the way you described

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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    WE, I do not know of any poisonous look-alikes of cattail. Sorry, I can't answer the other questions.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Be sure to save some heads for carring fire, burn like punk sticks.

    (This has gotta be true, I saw Cody Lundin do it on duel survival)
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    YCC scroll down to Identification. It lists poisonous look-alikes - no have the brown seed head.

    http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/duffyk43.html
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    Yes cattail does have a poisonous look alike but only when it is a very young plant. the look-alike is the iris plant i believe. the best way to be 100% sure its a cattail is to look for the brown sausage-like flower head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asger View Post
    thanks alot, ill go forage for some cattail tomorrow and prepare them the way you described
    here is a more detailed description on how to prepare the cattail flour. Good luck

    http://www.tacticalintelligence.net/...at-cattail.htm

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    Senior Member Asger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by backcountrykid View Post
    here is a more detailed description on how to prepare the cattail flour. Good luck

    http://www.tacticalintelligence.net/...at-cattail.htm
    thank you again

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    Senior Member wareagle69's Avatar
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    thats whats great about new folks-new links excellently written blog, almost seems like i wrote it, same methods same books same way of thinking, maybe thats why i am so impressed with it, cuz thats exactly how i do it.
    To the bckid
    i ask questions, leading questions at times about wild edibles cuz i see new folks coming on here all the time regurgitating the same info over and over, plaugurizing books, to which i have them all, so i ask questions that the books can't answer, only experience
    we have a saying here-knowledge without experience is just information.
    hopefully you turn out to have both
    where abouts do you hail from?
    Last edited by wareagle69; 09-26-2010 at 09:15 AM.
    always be prepared-prepare all ways
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    Thanks for the info. I tried eating cat tails years ago, but I ate the stalks. I was 9 at the time. The ditch in front of my house is full of them, I might dig some up when I get back home.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Just make certain you know what's in that ditch with the cattails. Yard chemical run off or septic run off would not be good things.

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    Senior Member Ted's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    Just make certain you know what's in that ditch with the cattails. Yard chemical run off or septic run off would not be good things.
    You said it! I ate some along the IL. river one time (shoots) that tasted like, like.....gasoline...turpine maybe! IT WAS BAD!!!!!

    The easiest way to get the starch is,after you peel them, crush them in a bucket water. Let the water settle, remove the stuff floating, and slowly pour off the water. Repeat a couple of times, untill nothing is floating to the top. Pour off as much water as you can and left the doughy lookin' white goo in the bottom dry. Then you pound that into flour. I've used it as a thickener for soups, stews and such but never done any baking with it.

    The leaves can be eaten all summer but by the end of the season only about 6-10 in. of the inner shoot will be tender enough to chew.

    You can eat the immature flower heads but I never have, and the pollen is said to make a good flower too but Ive never tried that either.
    I'm a simple man, of simple means, turned my back on the machines, to follow my dreams.

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    Gadget Master oldsoldier's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=wareagle69;250266]out of curiosity how do you dry the starch and how many roots do i need to collect and process to have a useable amount of flower,

    If I remember correctly about 8-10 large roots for 1/2 cup flour. Taste is kind of a potato like taste. Like acorn flour not the best but in a pinch it will work
    If by what I have learned over the years, allow me to help one person to start to prepare. If all the mistakes I have made, let me give one person the wisdom that allows them to save their life or the life of a loved one in an emergency. Then I will truly know that all the work I have done will have been worth every minute.

  17. #17

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    I've ate the immature flower heads and they're quite good. Still green when eaten, both male and female parts.

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    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    so after extracting the starch from the rhizomes, are the rhizomes edible?

    or does one do this for the flour, and not the actual rhizomes?
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by crashdive123 View Post
    YCC scroll down to Identification. It lists poisonous look-alikes - no have the brown seed head.

    http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/duffyk43.html
    Quote Originally Posted by backcountrykid
    Yes cattail does have a poisonous look alike but only when it is a very young plant. the look-alike is the iris plant i believe. the best way to be 100% sure its a cattail is to look for the brown sausage-like flower head.
    Yellow Iris, Yellow Flag says my dictionary This is the plant that is usually believed to be cattail, because they grow in same places and sometimes even together. If brown seed head is missing you should look leafs very carefully to avoid uncomfortable stomach cramps ... ... few friends accidently tested it ...

    To be honest, most plants I have eaten on survival trainings taste like poo, but excellent part on cattails to eat is the end of the stalk (inch or so) which really tastes like cucumber!

  20. #20

    Default cattail

    Quote Originally Posted by Asger View Post
    Hello everybody

    First of all, sorry for this stupid question, but i was wondering what part of cattail is edible in the fall, and how should i cook it for the best flavour?
    No flavor or lack of flavor is great for most survuival food. I use the pleasingly white root. You pound the root in a bowl and discard the stringy stuff. you are left with a paste. try mixing it with wild garlic and using it like flour or as a soup thickener.

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