Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cattail Recipe - Cattail Flower Griddle Cake

So may parts of cattails (Typha latifolia) are edible. The early shoots are edible as a vegetable in early spring. Pull apart the leaves when they are about 2' tall to get to the tender heart, and eat it like bamboo shoots, chopped raw in salads, and pickled lightly. The flavor is very similar to cucumber. Cattail flowers are a good source of bright yellow pollen in late spring in southeastern Connecticut. We gather and sift the pollen and use it as a nutritious supplement in baking throughout the year.

Gillian and the sheathed flower spikes
This is an easy recipe using the pulp from the cattail  flower spike in mid-spring. When we gather them, the flower spike is still sheathed in a single leaf. We cut the flower spike and bring it home to peel, but be aware that there are usually lots of tiny black beetles hiding inside the leaf, so peel them outside. I then pinch the darker green male portion of the flower along the stem, and the pulp flakes off easily. I cannot get much off the female flower, so I don't bother. I can still boil up the female flower and let Gillian chew on it like cattail-on-the-cob. For this particular batch we had some glasswort (Salicornia) from the seashore on hand, and I added it for a salty crunch. We served these like appetizers, with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Removing the male yellow-green pulp from the spike

This recipe is available in our book, available Spring 2016.

Cattail flower stalk; male portion
on top, female portion on the bottom


Marqueta (Mar-kee-ta) G. said...

This is a great idea, and looks delicious. Thank you!


Carmen said...

I want to make this but I don't have glasswort. Would could I use instead?

Carmen said...

I mean, What iso would

The 3 Foragers said...

I actually made a second batch and used minced onions since I had no more glasswort. It just adds a crunch and saltiness. The batter is thicker than a pancake batter, but you can thin it a bit with more milk if you like. My daughter loves this recipe.

Carmen said...

Thanks! I do have enough onions ;-)

Bibi said...

Liking your blog:-)!
I'm also interested in making this recipe, do you boil or steam the flowerheads before you put it in the batter?

The 3 Foragers said...

We peel the flower spike, then shake off the tiny beetles (not ALWAYS present, but don't worry, they are tiny). I pinch off the pulp and use it raw in this recipe. I usually only get usable pulp from the upper, male portion of the spike, but it adds up quickly. I only give it a boil to serve to my daughter as cattail-on-the-cob. Yum!

Bibi said...

I've tried it and it's great! You'd only need about 10 flowerheads to get a cup. Thanks!

Jaz said...

This looks a good try so wish me luck on this one. I'm new to food recipe containing flowers. I've tasted a different one and I liked it. So I plan to make my own.

Erin Froehlich said...

Hi Krazzewski family!

I thought you might be intrigued by this – I recently figured out a way to use the sweet corn-like taste, yet funky, fibery texture of brown cattail fluff to make a really tasty vegetarian “pulled pork” substitute! Seriously. Even my 10 year old liked it!

I called my recipe “Vegetarian Pulled Pork BBQ.”

You can check it out here (I referenced this dish and linked to your site in it!):

Colorful Canary said...

Thanks for the great recipe! I featured it on today's roundup :)