In keeping with my ‘just don’t tell em’ plan, I whipped up some amazing wild eggrolls for dinner last night. Served with Jasmine rice. Titus helped me.
The wild ingredients were unfortunately detected by my suspicious son, Justin, but he still wolfed down FIVE of them…
First, I harvested Cattail shoots from the Cattail swamp with my neighbor JD. I’ll take you to the swamp to get a feel for what it’s like to ‘shop’ in the wild.
Cattail is often called, The Supermarket of the Swamp. Because it offers an amazing variety of nutritious gifts.
The roots are starchy and IMPOSSIBLE to dig so I haven’t but I’ve heard they have quite a bit of calories for a starving forager (just haven’t been hungry enough to fall in the muck to dig them up)
The young shoots taste EXACTLY like cucumber. I’m featuring them in my tzaziki sauce for my Wild Greek dinner next week.
The female green cob tastes like corn on the cob (smothered with butter and salt and pepper of course)
The male golden pollen is rich in vitamins and minerals and makes a powerful addition to flours. I’ll be showing you how to make Cattail pancakes with this nutrient dense flour come mid Summer!
A twist of the brown cob makes flour (according to Linda Runyon, but I have never tried it) I will though.
The pith is another delicacy I have yet to explore.
Beyond those edible gifts the fluff has an amazing bouyancy to it and can be used to stuff a life jacket, or pillows or as tinder. The skeleton stalks make great tinder as well.
Titus weaved mats with the young green leaves.
Cattails are AWESOME! Here are some of their young shoots chopped up for stir frying for the egg rolls mixture.
Next, I actually had the nerve to harvest some Thistle from the prolific stand that has taken over my mother’s side yard. Thistle, just doesn’t look welcoming or edible. My friend Heather (an actress in CA) LOVES them. Hmmmm… that got me to thinking…. perhaps they are worth investigating
I recommend leather gloves while preparing Thistle to eat. Hold the stem upside down and pull the leaves off, this will strip most of the extremely stringy outside of the stalk revealing a more ‘tender’ inside.
Notice how stringy these stems are. It peels away easily though and the insides are crunchy and nutritious. If it wasn’t so much work I’d eat them often. Of course, I’ll pickle some just for fun as well.
Next, I added some ingredients I had garbled for and preserved earlier in the Spring: sweet and sour Burdock roots and Fermented Milkweed shoots with Carrots and Ginger. Check out the size of the Burdock leaves in this photo. Burdock is a biennial (meaning it grows for two years), you want to harvest the first year roots or Spring roots of a second year plant. Their leaves make great plates when eating wild and I’ve used them recently as a very effective fan (it has been so hot lately)
Gingered Carrots is a recipe from my favorite cookbook, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. I just added Milkweed shoots to the mix and fermented it. The flavor inside eggrolls is perfect.
With everything chopped I stir fried it all in coconut oil for a few minutes. Then Titus rolled them into prepackaged egg roll wraps to fry to perfection.
I added some Broccoli and Cabbage so as to disguise the rest of the wild ingredients. Seemed normal enough.
Here is the recipe:
Wild Vegetable Egg Rolls
2 T. soy sauce, 1 t. cornstarch (I use kudzu powder), 1/2 t. dry mustard, 1/4 t. ground black pepper, 1/4 t. sesame oil
1 c. finely chopped celery (used thistle)
1 c. coarsely shredded carrots (used the gingered carrots)
1 c of cattail shoots chopped
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1 t. grated ginger root (if not using gingered carrots)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c. finely shredded chinese cabbage (or regular cabbage
1 c. fresh spinach, chopped (I use Lambsquarter for a spinach substitute or Nettle) though I didn’t use any this time
1/2 c. chopped fresh mushrooms (I used Milkweed shoots, parboiled first to eliminate any bitter taste)
1/2 c cooked pork or chicken (or you can substitute Sweet and Sour Burdock roots)
12. egg roll wrappers
Using small amount of coconut oil in a skillet over medium high heat, sir-fry the celery (thistle), onions, garlic, and ginger for about 2 min. Add the rest of the veggies. Stir-fry a few minutes more until the carrot and cabbage are crisp-tender, then add the spinach and stir a minute or two longer.
In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, cornstarch, mustard and pepper until the cornstarch (Kudzu or Arrowroot) is dissolved. Add to the stir-fried vegetables, and cook for 1 – 2 minutes or until the sauce mixture thickens and adheres to the vegetables. Remove from heat. (**The filling can be prepared in advance and left to cool or refrigerate until ready to fry the egg rolls.)
To assemble the egg rolls, spoon 1/4 c. of the vegetable mixture onto the center of each egg roll wrapper. Fold one corner of the wrapper over the vegetables, slightly tucking the corner under the filling. Then fold the side corners over the top. Lightly moisten the remaining corner with water. Then roll the egg roll toward the remaining corner and press firmly to seal.
Heat the pan over medium-high heat, I use an iron skillet, add a large spoonful of coconut oil. Add the egg rolls and cook on all sides until lightly browned.
Serve over Jasmine Rice. They were a wild hit. ENJOY!
If you want to read more about Cattail check out my Cattail blogs here – https://wildblessings.com/cattails/