Cattail Pollen Lessons
Sometimes I need to be reminded that the greatest wisdom comes from experience. There is just no way to replace the knowledge that comes from years of touching a plant, wrestling with it, sitting down to lunch with it. Even after years of such experience, one little twist will reveal whole new avenues of knowledge. I've been harvesting cattail pollen for a long time now, but I learned quite a bit about cattail pollen over the last week.
When I first started harvesting cattail pollen, I'd use the traditional method. I'd squish out onto the edges of ponds, and repeatedly bend the heads of cattails into a container and shake them to accumulate the yellow powder. For me, this method was frustrating. It meant spending hours of sweaty labor while standing in mucky water and high temperatures. And even so, I'd come away with astonishingly small amounts of my prize.
Eventually, I discovered that I could have a much more relaxed experience, and collect more cattail pollen by snipping the male portions of the cattails into a bag and taking them home. Once at home, I could sit on my back steps, and leisurely slap the cattails against the inside of a bowl to collect the cattail pollen.
This year, the drought has meant that there are fewer cattails flowering, and those that are aren't as heavy with pollen as usual. It has forced me to refine my method of collection in an effort to make the most of the few pollen-loaded cattails I was able to find. Much to my surprise, I've been able to vastly increase the amount of pollen that I'm able to collect.
My New Method for Collecting Cattail Pollen
5. The sifted, dried cattail pollen keeps fairly well in the refrigerator, and even better in the freezer. My favorite way to eat it is in cattail pollen pancakes. You can find a recipe for those, and a few other recipe ideas if you click through to this older post.
6. One last tip - wear yellow!
I'm sharing these tips with Real Food Wednesday.