Time for a Spring Tonic Poke Sallet
Polk Sallat Annie Elvis
A Good "Mess of Poke"
Its spring here in the Blue Ridge and already many of us have enjoyed "a mess" of the creasy greens. Creasy greens are traditionally included in some of the best meals around a country dinner table at home or at get togethers. Another green we often eat in the Spring is poke sallat. The poke bush grows wild almost anywhere but I have some "new ground" and there is always an abundance of poke. Today as I worked clearing some undesirable briers and small shrubs I noticed the poke just about 8 inches tall coming out of the ground. They are plenty big to cut and cook and what better than a good mess of poke cooked in pork grease and scrambled eggs, onions. I like jalapeno chips with mine and some good cornbread and a tall glass of cold milk.
Nature, with the help of birds who eat the mature berries that contain seeds that have a shell that cannot be digested is the reason for the bounty of poke. How many of us haven't been altogether disgusted when some bird empties its bowels on our vehicles at poke berry time.Splat!! A big reddish mass of bird doo all over our shiny chariot might even make us cuss of if we don't cuss at least have a bad thought and requires an immediate car wash. My great grandmother had a saying about women wo wore lipstick. She was an old timer who didn't think a little paint made an old barn look better and held a disdain for women who wore red lipstick. She commented,"Their lips look like a foxes ass at poke berry time!" Now, I have never seen a foxes behind at poke berry time so I cannot verify her assertion nor can I say would I want to really know if it is true.
Poke can only be eaten at this time of year when the leaves are tender and require par boiling before frying. Here is a recipe if you have access to poke and I'm sure you do if you have any vacant lots or fields near your home and birds of course. This recipe is from the web.
Pick poke when it is small enough to be tender. Parboil in enough water to cover greens (about 10 minutes). Drain and rinse.
Cook a second time, until leaves are very tender, drain water off. This 2 step cooking process removes excessive Vitamin A in the leaves which may be toxic.
In a skillet, cook 3 strips bacon to obtain bacon drippings.
Remove bacon, sauté onions. Add drained greens, stirring well. Break 2 eggs into greens and scramble all together.
This is country eating!
Well there you have it all you ever wanted to know about poke sallat and how to prepare it. Hope you will have some soon. The old timers say this is a spring tonic!
- Grandpappy's Basic Recipes - Poke Sallet Weed - by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
Recipes for poke sallet weed.