Cattail pollen can not only be used to prepare many delicious and long-lasting goods, such as pancakes and spaghetti, but it can also substitute flour altogether.
In the olden days, a nomadic Native American tribe, called the Mescalero Apache, even used cattail pollen for healing ailments of various kinds.
Cattail pollen is a great source of protein and lasts indefinitely, which is why you need it for your stockpile. Not only can this pollen be used to make pancakes and spaghetti, but it can also be used to make yummy cattail pollen biscuits that taste great and never expire.
Thankfully, summer is the best time to harvest this underrated staple, so you can easily go out and get some of your own cattail pollen to prepare these biscuits.
Where To Find Cattails
Cattail plants are easy to find. I live in a large city in the southeastern United States and was able to find a nice bunch in a swamp on a local trail near my home.
Related: How To Pickle Cattails For Long-Term Preservation
So don’t fret about having to go too far to find some cattail pollen.
It’s important to harvest the pollen before any rainy or windy weather travels through your area so your harvest won’t be ruined. Harvesting enough pollen for this recipe can take a while (approximately 30-45 minutes for me).
Though, I found the task soothing, since it gave me the chance to spend more time in nature on a lovely 70-degree day.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies and think they may be triggered by this harvest, it is best to wear a face mask and goggles while you collect the pollen.
What To Look For While Harvesting
Each cattail plant carries about one teaspoon of pollen, so you will need to harvest pollen from at least 24 cattail plants in total to reach your quota of pollen (½ cup) for this recipe.
To successfully harvest the pollen, you should know the anatomy of the cattail plant and which plants have pollen that is ripe for harvest. The brown oblong-shaped part of the plant is known as the “female seed” or “sheath” of the plant.
The faded yellow-brown end that is sprouting from the female seed is the “male pollen”, which is where you will get your pollen from.
The male pollen will be yellow, meaning it is covered in pollen. If you’re unsure whether the male pollen has pollen on it, you can give it a light flick or tap. If a small, yellow cloud of pollen emerges from it, then it has pollen that can be harvested.
How To Harvest Cattail Pollen
There are two methods of collecting cattail pollen. If you’re in a rush, you can take a pair of garden shears and cut the male pollen from the sheath of the plant, place all of your male pollens in a bag (preferably a paper bag or large zip-lock bag) and collect the pollen from them once you get home.
The aforementioned method is not very good for the environment, so I typically use a different method (although it takes a little more time) to leave some pollen for the ecosystem. Garden shears are not necessary for this method.
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All you will need is a bag of any size (I used a paper bag). To harvest the pollen, gently take the male pollen and bend it over into your bag. Then, shake the pollen off of the male pollen and into the bag.
This method is more eco-friendly than cutting the tail off and taking it home. This way, there will still be pollen left for the environment.
Once you have harvested your pollen and returned home, there may be fibers or clumps in your pollen. Use a strainer to sift out the fibers and separate them from the pollen.
The Ingredients You Will Need
Now that the hard part is out of the way, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty.
Most of the short list of ingredients you will need for this recipe consists of items most people already have in their pantries, which makes this recipe simple and affordable.
- ½ cup of cattail pollen
- 4 tsp of baking powder
- 1 ½ cups of flour (unbleached)
- ½ tsp of salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¾ cup of water
How To Bake The Cattail Pollen Biscuits
1. Set your oven to preheat at 450 degrees. Grab a small or medium mixing bowl and pour your cattail pollen, unbleached flour, salt, and baking powder inside. Then, mix these ingredients together.
2. Slightly melt your butter, then stir it into the bowl until some clumps begin to appear in the mixture.
3. Mix the water into the mixture until it turns to dough. If it is still too dry, you can add ¼ cup of water or more to moisten it into dough.
4. Flour a cutting board. Then, place your dough onto the board and gently knead it into an elliptical shape. It should be about 1 inch wide.
5. Cut the dough into 1-inch sections. Then, place them onto a cookie sheet.
6. Coat your biscuits in melted butter.
7. Bake your biscuits for 11-12 minutes or until they are golden brown.
You definitely won’t want these savory treats to go to waste. Thankfully, cattail pollen biscuits are quick and easy to store because of their natural ingredients and lack of sugar.
To give your biscuits a shelf-life of two to three years, place them in a zip-lock bag or an airtight container. You can also throw an oxygen absorber inside the bag or container.
Or if you are using a zip-lock bag, you can vacuum-seal the bag. Finally, keep your biscuits in a cool, dry place for whenever you are ready to eat them again.