Gators got your Granny
A pop cultural reference likely to blow by those under 50.
I have a reluctance to eating things that can poison me if not properly prepared. Poke salad, Phytolacca Americana, has long been on my list and up until recently I had never tried it despite years of encouragement from a long time friend who is a big fan of it.
Last week we got together midway between our respective homes in Georgia and Tennessee for some outdoor recreation. Upon returning to our vehicles she noted an abundance of Poke salad nearby and gathered up a sack of it. Having already accepted an offer of supper at her place I surmised that the time had come to try it. If you google cooking Poke salad you will find that there is quite a range to the measures employed to reduce the toxins in the stuff all of which involve boiling and draining some number of times. My friend only boils and drains once and I don't think that she even rinsed after the initial draining. I found it to be quite tasty, similar to cooked spinach. No ill effects noted.
Here is the Wikipedia entry on the plant with a long listing of the potentially toxic compounds it contains.
Here is a link from a guy who is obviously a fan of the stuff. Curiously he suggests handling with gloves to avoid the possibility of contact dermatitis. No one I know who eats the stuff does this. I also picked a bunch of it recently without use of gloves with no problem.
Poke is an extremely abundant weed locally so this Sunday I decided to pick some and prepare. I decided to be a bit more cautious and boil and drain twice. The second boil and drain was brief as I had heated a second pot of water for this purpose during the heating and boil of the pot with the greens. Essentially I was rinsing with hot water after the initial drain. Like spinach it cooks down in volume a lot. Two plastic grocery bags [still on the stems] once stripped from the stems and cooked down makes about six large servings.
Despite being quite tasty and not causing any apparent ill effect I am still a bit wary of the stuff. Just because something doesn't make you sick it not proof that it is not potentially harmful. Are there any fans of Poke salad on the forum?
For those missing the subject line cultural reference, go here: