Its mid-July and already late for collecting the cattail pollen. I gathered the last of it on July 12th.
Here’s how you do it.
Find a primo spot where the top of the cattail appears slightly yellow. Every book I’ve read says to get a bag to gather pollen, which I did. But, after a little experience I think its easier to get a large ball jar or other glass container.
Drop the top of the cattail into the glass and shake, shake, shake. After you’ve gotten the fluffy yellow pollen to blow inside the jar,put the lid on and move onto the next.
Warning: If you have allergies, this can really aggravate them! Go to the health food store and buy Similasan Nasal Allergy Relief. Put it in your special foraging backpack along with some Visine allergy relief for eyes, and you’ll be in good shape when the symptoms hit.
Take your pollen home and sift it through a piece of screen. Any relatively clean piece of screen will do, or a flour sifter. This is to get out the larger pieces of dried cattail and bugs that invariably will fall into your jar.
Place the sifted pollen in an airtight container and add it to flour for pancakes or other baked goods for a lovely color. Wild Edible Foods says it makes a good thickener for soups too. Some research suggests it may have medicinal value as well so avoid using if you are pregnant.