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Time for a Spring Tonic Poke Sallet

Updated on March 30, 2017
Fiddleman profile image

I am Robert Elias Ballard, married to Pearlie Jane (PJ) for 45 years on November 24, 2017. We live in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

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.


Poke sallet



Bacon strips

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!


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    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 5 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Hey Fiddleman, good Hub.

      I do like a mess of fresh Greens, and Poke is one of the good ones.

      Glad you told everyone about the double-washing/soaking because, as you know, if it's not done well, Poke can be a really good TONIC. In fact, it can be a very "cleansing" experience. LOL!

      Have a good day, my man.

    • Fiddleman profile image

      Robert Elias Ballard 5 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      They will stink up a kitchen and my wife refuses to cook em. I am the only one in our family who eats poke and if it weren't for my mama and a good friend I'd miss out on having my annual mess ofe poke.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      A liddle of thet good ol' down home cookin!

      I love your gran "A foxes ass at poke berry time!"

      I wonder if we get this over you know the biological name?


    • Fiddleman profile image

      Robert Elias Ballard 5 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      According to Wikipedia, the Red Ink plant which I am fairly certain is the poke we cook can be found world wide. If you find some be careful as to how you cook it. Gather the smaller leaves while the plant is just beginning to grow. The plant grows fast and can be pretty big. Whenit matures and seeds the berries are red and birds eat them. The seeds and plant are poisonous to humans but the seeds where the really bad stuff is cannot be digested in a birds digestive system.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      This is a first for this Brooklyn girl!

    • Fiddleman profile image

      Robert Elias Ballard 5 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      Thank you breakfastpop, Brooklyn gals are cool! Hey if the Obama administration had a good helping of poke they could cleanse their systems.

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