Today my dad and I went to harvest some cattails. We pass a place where they grow when we go on bike rides, so we packed up some digging gear and dug up a few plants to bring home with us.
Since a cattail is a weed, and they spread by rhizome fairly quickly, I’m confident we did not do any harm by taking a few plants.
Anyway, a lot of cattail parts are edible. The part we tried is called a lateral. A lateral is the beginning of a rhizome, and if you want to eat them, you have to get them before they toughen up into a mature rhizome. If you miss this time, you can only make flour with the laterals, which mature into rhizomes.
We only had one tender lateral, so I first ate some of it raw. I thought that it tasted like a cross between a watermelon and a carrot. It was tender but slightly crispy, and it was very good. I steamed the rest of it and had it with a bit of butter, but I think I liked it better raw. We were, unfortunately, a little late harvesting them, so it was the tiniest bit tough.
We then planted the cattail plants we harvested in some large pots and we’re hoping they grow nicely in them so that we can eat more of this plant in the spring/summer.
I was very happy. This was quite a good find!