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A wild plant, sometimes going under the name of elephant grass or reed mace. It grows along the edges of fresh-water lakes and streams.

The cattail"s rootstalk, the core or marrow of the young plant, the flower spikes and even the pollen is edible. The roots should be peeled and then boiled or baked, although the inner stems of young plants can be eaten raw in early spring.

The flowering spikes, before they develop pollen, can be eaten raw, boiled as a vegetable or made into soup; while the pollen can be oiled as a porridge or made into a dough and baked as a kind of bread.

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton French Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards.

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