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How to make Cattail Pollen Pancakes

Updated on August 20, 2014
Cattail Pollen Pancakes
Cattail Pollen Pancakes | Source

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Gathering food from the wild and bringing it home to eat has a wonderfully satisfying feel to it, and it a popular hobby for many people.

Cattail pollen pancakes are one of the most delicious wildcrafting recipes I know. I love them and I'm certain you will too.

Learn how to make these sweet, bright golden pancakes using fresh cattail pollen you can harvest yourself!

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: Around 15 3x3 inch pancakes


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cattail pollen
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil


  1. Collect the pollen
  2. Sift the pollen
  3. Mix up the batter
  4. Cook in a frying pan or pancake griddle until browned
  5. Serve hot with butter or honey

Finding The Cattail Pollen

Cattails in bloom
Cattails in bloom | Source

Cattails are a common plant in wetlands, at the edges of ponds and rivers, and anywhere the ground is waterlogged and marshy. Wading boots are recommended, or else a swimsuit. You'll probably get wet!

They usually bloom in late June or early July.

The flowerheads shown in the picture above will look familiar to most people.

Notice how the flowerhead is divided into two parts. It has male and female parts on the same stalk, so only the TOP part has the pollen you're looking for.

Make sure it is fresh - it should leave bright yellow pollen on your hands when you touch it.

Gathering the Pollen


There's several methods of collecting the pollen, but my preferred tactic is to bend the stalk into a plastic bag, then strip the pollen-bearing part off into the bag. You'll need to sift it, later, to remove the fluff and debris.

I like to gather a lot, and freeze the extra pollen to use later.

Sifting it


When I get home, I sift it to remove all the fluff from the pollen. I throw away the fluff, then sift my pollen again, to get out any that escaped the first time.

This process is messy. Be prepared for yellow hands, counters, clothing, floor, dishes, and cupboards [unless you are one of those unnaturally tidy people who never make messes]. Fortunately it's easy to wipe up again!



Finally, you'll have a rich, buttery-yellow powder, the consistency of really fine flour. And that's just what you're going to use as.

Pancake Batter


In a mixing bowl, measure out 1/2 cup of pollen, 1 1/2 cups flour, and 1/4 cup sugar. Add a teaspoon of baking soda and a pinch of salt, and stir well.

Add the Liquid Ingredients


Add in 4 eggs, 1 cup milk and 1/4 cup oil. Stir it until the batter is very smooth, with no lumps.

Heat up a frying pan or a pancake griddle on medium heat. You can tell when it's hot enough, by dripping a little water on it. If the water drop "bounces" and sizzles, it's ready.

Create Pancakes


Pour the batter by the large spoonful onto a hot pan or griddle.

When you can see bubbles forming all through the pancake, as shown above, it's time to flip them. Carefully slip a metal spatula under them, and turn them. It doesn't take long to cook the other side, only a brief moment - you can lift up a corner to peek and see when it's browned enough for your taste.

When done, set aside on a plate and begin with the next batch.



I like to serve these with butter or maybe a little honey - anything too strong-flavored tends to overwhelm the flavor of the cattail pollen.



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    • Etherealenigma profile image

      Sandra M. Urquhart 3 years ago from Florida

      Wow! This is cool. I had no idea that those things had any thing in them that was edible. How cool. I have got to learn more about foraging. Thanks for this.

    • WhatToCook profile image

      Brenda 4 years ago from Springfield, MO

      What an interesting and creative recipe. I never new anything about cattail pollen or that you could cook with it. Thanks for sharing such a cool recipe and the pancakes look yummy.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 4 years ago from Southern Clime

      When I was a child growing up in Southern USA woods, foraging was a common way of life for many people in my region. It was as easy as having a kitchen garden. Food was everywhere. I got away from that practice as life changed, but I did not forget most of it. I have heard of cattail pollen being used to make bread, but I have never known anyone to use it for anything. I think I will try it to make pancakes--maybe!

      How interesting! Thanks.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

      What a great article. Very interesting.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      This recipe reminds me of the days when I was heavily into foraging for wild foods. I've never tried making anything with cattail pollen, but it looks like fun and sounds delicious! Thanks for the well-written instructions on how to gather and make the pancakes! Voted up and shared!

    • KL Klein profile image

      Krissa Klein 4 years ago from California

      Thank you, ThompsonPen - give them a try if you can, they're very tasty!

    • ThompsonPen profile image

      Nicola Thompson 4 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      That's so neat and creative! Thank you for the very informative Hub! I want to try them!

    • KL Klein profile image

      Krissa Klein 4 years ago from California

      Thank you, Ian! :)

    • Ian Dabasori Hetr profile image

      Ian D Hetri 4 years ago from Papua New Guinea

      Just the picture makes it tempting. So tempting. An excellent piece of work KL. Love reading it..

    • KL Klein profile image

      Krissa Klein 4 years ago from California

      Thanks, RTalloni! :)

      I have family members who are lactose-intolerant, so when I'm cooking for them I just use water, or rice milk or almond milk. The important part is just making sure it has the right proportion of liquid to dry ingredients.

      I hope you enjoy it!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Well how about this interesting recipe! I love learning what is good and safe to eat from wild lands, but this is not one that would have been on my radar. Thanks for a recipe that I will hopefully surprise guests with at some point. :)

      I'll have to adjust it to make it cow milk free but that will be easy. Pinning to Ways w/ Food: Breads/...