The White Earth Tribal and Community College, located on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota, hosted the 3rd annual Wild Food Summit. This gathering, which was held during the summer solstice, brought folks together who were interested in learning about identifying and preparing wild foods. But as shown through the various interviews, the gathering runs deeper than that, and is really about that intersecting point between how plants and people shape each other.
The above video is the first of 3, which includes interviews with some of the presenters and folks attending the event. Below is the recipe outline for a cattail stirfry prepared during the event. I got the idea for the nettle and sesame seed powder from Susan Weed’s book Healing Wise, and the stirfy is just one of the many number of ways our family prepares cattail hearts/shoots. enjoy!
Harvest your nettle leaves, clean them, and then thoroughly dry them. Take some sesame seeds and put them into a hot skillet. Keep moving them around with your spatula so they don’t burn, and watch out because they will start to jump and pop. Once they start to smell like they’ve been toasted and start to brown you can remove them and put into a food processor/blender/mortar & pestle, along with your dried nettle leaves and a small amount of salt (I used 1 tsp of salt to a 1/2 gallon mason jar full of dried nettle leaves and about 2 cups of sesame seeds). Experiment with how many nettles to sesame seeds you like. Use this powder to top rice dishes, soups, salads, etc. It is loaded with nutrients and adds a delicious nutty flavor to your foods.
Gather your cattail leaves/shoots and pull off the tough/fibrous outer leaves until you reach the tender white inner core of the cattail heart. Wash them thoroughly and cut into roughly 4” pieces. Put a healthy amount of high-heat cooking oil in the bottom of your skillet. Put in your burdock root slices into the hot oil, which are cut diagonally about 1/8” thick, and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add chopped spring onion, carrots that have been cut into long strips (julienned), and the chopped burdock petioles. Cook about 3-5 minutes and then add cattail shoots, minced garlic, and minced ginger (you could use a small amount of wild ginger). Cook for about 3 minutes. Then add a few splashes of sesame seed oil, some black sesame seeds, chopped red cabbage, some finely chopped wild greens (we used sow thistle greens) and a lot of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos/soy sauce/tamari/shoyu. Cover and let cook for about a minute. Serve with Nettle/Sesame Powder sprinkled on top.