(Scirpus validus/Scirpus acutus)
The bulrush is a tall, light green, soft-fleshed marsh plant. Its spikelets are either solitary or in groups, and are very commonly umbelled. This plant is very often found in or around marshes and lakesides, where it rises conspicuously out of shallow water. The bulrush is a year-round source of food. The rootstalk is available from fall to spring. The young leading tip from which next years shoot will emerge can be eaten in the fall when it is crisp and sweet
In the Bush
As a Fresh Vegetable: The young shoots and the tender parts inside the base of the stalks are edible raw, or when boiled. The young base roots are also edible both raw and cooked.
Roasted Bulrush Roots: Dig up the roots and clean thoroughly, removing all the hair roots by scraping, then wrap in big leaves. Dig a hole in the ground about 18 inches across and 6 inches deep. Build a fire in it, and when you have a good bed of coals, remove most of the coals from the hole and place the wrapped roots in. Scrape the coals back on top of the wrapped roots. Roast for 2 to 3 hours.
Bulrush Stew: Peel the skin off the roots and cut in inch log pieces. place in a pot with boiling water and add a few wild onions or sprigs of mint. Then add pieces of porcupine or other small animals. Boil one hour.
Bulrush Flour: Clean the roots thoroughly and dry them completely in a dry place in the sun. When they are dry, remove the fibers from the root and pound the remaining pulp into a flour. The texture of the flour depends upon how much elbow grease you use in its preparation. It is very sweet.
Bulrush Pancakes: Peel the skin from the roots, cut into small sections, add water, and boil into a gruel. Let cool. Stir in porcupine fat, or any other fat, then add chopped porcupine or bacon. Heat a couple of flat stones over the fire. Form small patties of the mixture and fry on the stones. If berries are in season, mash a cupful and use a compliment.
Bulrush Bread: Skin the roots and cut them into small pieces, the boil in to a gruel. Remove the fibers and let the water evaporate. When all the water is gone you have a sweet-tasting flour. Mix some fat into the flour and mix. Roll the dough mixture out onto a flat rock and bake in a reflector oven. Or make small rolls about 6 inches long and half an inch thick, twist around a stick and set in from of the fire to bake.
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