Poke Salad

Poke Salad

 

This is the poisonous “Pokeweed”.My Grandmother, Mom, and North Carolina family used Poke to cook “Poke Salad”. In the Spring, Poke grew wild in yards, fields, near creek banks, and springs. They would gather it before it sprouted berries, clean it, boil it and pour the water off of it. Then they would cook it in a pan with fat back grease, and onions. The final step in cooking it was to break a couple of eggs in the Poke salad & cook it until the eggs were done. Let me tell you, it was so good! Poke salad & cornbread was like a gourmet dish to us. To this day, some of my North Carolina cousins still fix Poke salad. It still grows wild near them. I never cooked it, though. #1- Because I knew it was poisonous. #2- Because I only trusted my Grandmother, Mom, Aunts, and family Elders to cook it. It amazes me, to this day, how my Southern-rooted family & extended family expertly Foraged for food; in addition to growing gardens, chickens, pigs, cows, and fished in near by rivers & creeks…for their daily bread. This was their idea of a grocery store back in the day, and whether they had money to buy food or not, they were never without food. It was a custom and a tradition. A way of life for them that they continued, even when they didn’t have to. I know that’s why I have an interest in wild plants & herbs, and learning how to forage for food & medicinal herbs. It’s in my DNA. ~Jennifer H. McDaniel~