Gryffyn's Garden

a blog about my gardening attempts

   Mar 23

Poke’in Around

In addition to the peach trees, another edible already established here before any interest in gardening occurred is Pokeweed – although “edible” could be debated.

pokeweed

Pokeweed

The Pokeweed grows all along the fenceline in between Leo’s (the horse) area and the dogs’ fenceline – rampantly. While trying to identify what it was, I learned about “poke salat” – there’s even a song called “Poke Salad Annie.” I became really curious about it, and asked my father about it since he grew up in a small Louisiana town in the 20s. I figured if he went squirrel and bird hunting, he knew about a native southern dish such as poke salat. He did – and he’d had some. I even learned that until recently, you could buy it canned!

Needless to say a bit nervous when I first cooked it – considering it’s potential for toxicity. You have to pick it young for one. I don’t harvest anything that’s above my knee (the plants can grow to above my head). You also have to change water twice while boiling (to help remove any possible toxic elements). After draining I threw it in a skillet with some chopped onion and bacon, salt and pepper and butter and fried it up. It was darned tasty, although not the most aesthetic dish to look at.

tasty pokeweed

Poke Salat made from wild greens

I may experiment more with Poke in the future. I have read that if you pick the shoots when they are around 8 inches tall, you can cook them like asparagus, or cut and prepare like fried okra. Also read that a tincture can be made from the root in the fall that can help with immunity and arthritis – and thanks to my struggles with psoriatic arthritis, I am game for just about anything that can help the pain without spacing me out!

Some links for more information:

http://www.wildpantry.com/wildgreens.htm

http://www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine/September05/healingwise.htm

http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ecoph24.htm

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