Cattails are a delicious food, wildly abundant, generally found throughout the world…yeehaw, it’s cattail shoots time in northern MN. I am here visiting my Mom and will soon be heading to the Wild Food Summit on the White Earth Reservation. In this video you’ll see how to identify cattails shoots (along with a poisonous ‘lookalike’ plant), process them, and then cook them into a soup. I’m admittedly terrible with botanical identification of plants, and am a bit unsure of whether these were the Narrow-leaved cattail (Typha angustifolia), or the Common cattail (Typha latifolia) as I said in the video. I have a feeling both were represented in that stand, and that there may have been some of the hybridized version of the two (Typha x glauca). Another botanical snafu on my part was saying stem in the video, when in fact I meant to say leaves. You are actually taking advantage of the tender part of the leaves when eating the cattail hearts/inner core.
You can follow the energy of the plant through the seasons, and can eat this plant virtually year-round. It’s rhizomes, corms, new shoots, immature male flower spikes and pollen all provide tasty wild food nourishment. I got the idea to do a curried cattail soup from Anne Gardon’s book The Wild Food Gourmet: Fresh and Savory Food from Nature. This is the soup I brought for the Wild Food Summit potluck. Tune in tomorrow to see a video of the second annual Wild Food Summit.
Curried Cattail Soup
3 T butter
1 small onion, minced
1 1/2 cup cattail shoots, chopped
1 1/2 T curry powder
1 T cattail rhizome flour, or wheat flour
2 t Bragg’s liquid aminos, or soy sauce
4 c chicken or vegetable stock
salt & pepper to taste
Saute onion in butter until translucent. Add cattail shoots and curry powder. Saute 1-2 minutes and sprinkle cattail or wheat flour on top. Mix together and cook 1-2 minutes. Add liquid aminos/soy sauce, mix well and add stock. Bring soup to eating temperature, add salt & pepper to taste and serve.