Sunday, February 17, 2013

Desert Survival: Eating Cattails in Winter

I've heard it said that cattails are one of the most important plants for people in the wild to know. They signify that water is present, provide a great fire starter, make a good shelter, and even can be eaten. My husband knew where some were on the ranch, so he went out and collected some tubers and brought them back. They didn't exactly look like I thought they would:
I tried eating it and found it a little starchy without much taste. It wouldn't be great, but I guess if I were starving, I'd be willing to dig some up.
 Above is a view of the tuber spread out. It's kind of stringy, not so much like a potato, which is what I expected.

A few days later I decided I wanted to go see the cattails and try some other survival things with them, such as making cord and possibly making shelter. Desert Boy led us to them. Again, I was surprised by what I saw.

 
The cattails had been eaten by the cows and deer and were only knee high! I had to readjust my expectations.
 
Nevertheless, I was able to make a little cord. I need to practice more, and it would be fun to try to weave several strands together to make a stronger rope.

 We'll be back in the spring and summer and give the cattails another try. Still, I'm glad we went so that I know what they look like in winter!

2 comments:

phil said...

in the spring get the young tender shoots and cut them under the water next to the bottom. Peel off the outter husk and steam or boil the shoots..they taste different than those dry old things you tried.

Pimentel Ase said...

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