How to: Forage for Spring Edibles 10 - Cattail Pollen Harvest

Category: Water / Difficulty Level: 1
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06/22/2014
Summer Solstice 2014

People pay outrageous prices in health stores for tiny capsules of the bee pollenóa source of minerals, enzymes, protein, and energy. Cattail pollen beats the commercial variety in flavor, energy content, freshness, nutrition, and price! Here is a brief clip on how to harvest cattail pollen. You have to really watch a colony you intend on harvesting from as that there is a very short window of time to procure pollen from this plant - mostly around the Summer Solstice.

To collect the pollen in its short season, wait for a few calm days, so your harvest isn't scattered by wind. Bend the flower heads into a large paper bag and shake it gently. Keep the bagís opening as narrow as possible, so the pollen won't blow away. Sift out the trash, and use the pollen as golden flour in baking breads, muffins, pancakes, or waffles. It doesn't rise, and it's time- consuming to collect in quantity, so I generally mix it with at least three times as much whole-grain flour. You can also eat the pollen raw, sprinkled on yogurt, fruit shakes, oatmeal, and salads. The cattail is the all in all product for great nutrition or for medicinal needs.

Collecting the flower heads and pollen doesn't harm the plant, because cattails spread locally by their rhizomesóthe seeds are for establishing new colonies, and each flower head makes thousands of these. Collecting a small fraction of the shoots also does no damage, since the colony continually regenerates new shoots. Since nobody wants to sink into the mud, people normally collect at the periphery of the stand. Of course, if the stand is small, it's already struggling to survive adverse conditions. Finding a larger stand elsewhere will increase your harvest, and give the embattled plants a chance.

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The plants featured are:
Cattail (Typha latifolia)

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FORAGING RULES:
1). Only harvest plants that you have 110% positively identified.

2). Only harvest from areas where you have permission to do so.

3). Only harvest from areas you know are not sprayed, contaminated, or polluted.

4).Only use your harvest after they have been well washed in water.

5). Only ingest small amounts at first; If you choose to do so it is AT YOUR OWN RISK! DO NOT use this short video as the source of truth...DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH and/or find someone in your area who is knowledgeable and competent

#5 is especially important if you are new to wild foraging. Aside from the obvious dangers of thistles, poison ivy, poison oak, and deadly water hemlock...Many wild plants contain off the charts vitamins and minerals which might create a shock to your system...considering the nutrient count of your average domesticated vegetable foodstuffs.

Also and adendem to rule #1 is follow Green Deane's of EatTheWeeds I.T.E.M-ize Rules:
(I)dentify the plant beyond doubt....be sure it is the right
(T)ime of year. Check its
(E)nvironment. This involves two things. One is making sure it is growing in the right place. The other is making sure the plant is getting clean water and is not in polluted soil. And then...
(M)ethod of preparation.

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