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Old 07-16-2005, 05:30 PM   #1
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Question POLK SALAD, what is it??

Some freind was telling me about Polk salad, and i have never heard of it! He said maybe just the Hillbillies eat it? He was offered some and said no thanks , ha ha ha . I was just wondering if Anyone can tell me about what they know about it? I'm a Southerner, and consider myself more of a Southern chef, but, i have no ideas what Polk Salad is. I know i could look it up and find details . But, i'm very interested in knowing how many people know what it is as well!!

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Old 07-16-2005, 06:00 PM   #2
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My husband grew up eating this, and no, he's no hillbilly. lol
It is a wild grass that grows that you have to clean VERY good as not to get VERY sick from it. I never ate the stuff and my husband thought I was crazy. The poke is a paper bag that you use to gather it in.

http://web.ask.com/fr?u=http%3A%2F%2...oke%20Salad&mb=
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Old 07-16-2005, 10:45 PM   #3
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You have to be careful in which leaves you use. I can't keep them straight, but I think you need to use the young tendar ones, otherwise they are poisonus and can kill you.


Some years ago, a boy scout master kid some kids by fixing polk salad and used the wrong leaves.
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Old 07-16-2005, 11:16 PM   #4
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Good website Texasgirl! And you are right Raine - it's the young tender leaves in the center that are only 2-4 inches long that are the "safest" to eat - and only before it develops it's berries. When I was a kid Dad was stationed in Albany, Georgia and my Grandmothers came out and spent the summer with us. They got all excited that the field beside our house was full of pokeweed - and they took me with them several times when they went out picking.

All I remember about the preparation was that it was boiled a few minutes, drained and rinsed, then boiled again - about 4 times, to get rid of the toxins. Then, they added it to a cast iron skillet and finished cooking it in bacon grease with diced bacon and onion. I think they also added some vinegar - but I don't remember all the details exactly (that was about 47 years ago!).
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Old 07-17-2005, 01:23 PM   #5
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I eat poke all the time. I have never gotten sick from any of the leaves. The young ones are the most tender. Clean the leaves good then boil well. The traditional southern Poke Sallet calls for sauteing the greens in bacon grease then serve with chopped boiled egg. It's delicious. Remember the song "Poke Sallet Annie"?
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Old 07-18-2005, 09:46 PM   #6
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Yes, i was singing that song as during my previous reply.

chomp, chomp
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Old 07-19-2005, 12:01 AM   #7
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is there any reason to eat these possibly poisonous leaves? seems kinda dumb if there ain't...
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Old 07-19-2005, 01:47 AM   #8
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For the same reason some folk eat Spam. Once upon a time, people actually went hungry. Poke salat was simply a result of people being hungry, then they develop a taste for something they once HAD to eat. I've actually never heard of anyone dying from the stuff, and believe me, I've had my share of buddies who were raised on it back in the days when Appalachia was truly poor. There's a song out there about Poke Salad Annie, and I'm trying to remember which CD it is on. Brother! I'm going to have to listen to a lot of music this week to find the song!
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Old 07-19-2005, 01:49 AM   #9
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Moved to vegetable forum
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Old 07-19-2005, 03:48 PM   #10
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Only the berries and stalks will make you sick. Here in the south many people (old folks) say it's like a tonic and their body craves it. I personally think it's very tasty.
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Old 07-19-2005, 11:03 PM   #11
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http://www.rockytopgen.com/polksalad/health.html
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Old 07-19-2005, 11:58 PM   #12
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thanks claire. very interesting, anthropolgically speaking.

and thanks commisary queen. taste and tonic are good enough reasons, kinda what i expected...
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Old 07-20-2005, 12:23 AM   #13
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As a Kid in Missouri we ate Polkweed too; but only in the early spring.

When the stalk starts turning red that signals the build up of oxalic acid which can cause you to be very dead.

We mostly ate it steamed with a vinaigrette. I remember liking it.
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Old 07-20-2005, 01:47 AM   #14
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Well, buckytom - in the South polk salad is comfort food, call it soul food if you will ... something handed down from our grandparents .... something that we no longer have to eat but eat in celebratation or rememberance of days done by. And, besides, it's mighty tasty! That's why we "risk our lives" to eat it.
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Old 07-20-2005, 04:45 AM   #15
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I have never seen this in Europe...is this only grows in the US?
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Old 07-20-2005, 09:24 AM   #16
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We used to eat polk salad as a kid. I do not remember any rules about the leaves and the size. We would gather leaves from plants with and without berries. A polk plant creates purplish blue berries that are excellent for pissing off a brother or two when squeezed and thrown. We would also make a tea out of sumack (sp?). This plant acts like poison ivy to some people but the berries make a bitter tea.

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Old 07-20-2005, 09:54 AM   #17
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Before the era of supermarkets, people went all winter without fresh greens. My Grandma White used to pick a variety of wild spring greens...polk, purslane, dandylion, and lambsquarters to name a few. They were, indeed, a spring "tonic" as they sent one to the outhouse pretty fast.
I was always taught that the berries were poisonous, but we made some great "ink" out of them as children.
The older people around here still have to have a mess of fresh polk in the spring.
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Old 07-21-2005, 12:09 AM   #18
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thanks robt, michael in phtwpth (sorry, had a pokeberry seed ), bknox, daisy, and constance. now we're getting somewhere. it must be a hearty plant, i'm guessing that can handle frosts, has a long season to fruit, and grows in poor conditions, given what you all have said.
from a survival standpoint, you eat what providence has left for you. eventually, it becomes a sociologic curiosity, and a tie to our past.
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Old 07-23-2005, 08:00 AM   #19
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Thanks, Constance, for bringing up that point. People still assume that everyone can get everything, every time of the year. Then there are the TV talking head idiots who say "only eat fresh, local, in season." Duh. When we could all eat ONLY fresh, ONLY local, and ONLY in season, nutrition went down the hill, and diseases abounded. Even when I was a kid, in many places I lived, fish and seafood was a stinky, thawed, nasty tasting stuff I had to eat on Fridays during lent. In winter we had apples and oranges, period (and you don't have to get much older than me to remember when it was only apples). Vegetables in the winter meant carrots and potatoes and whatever you could get out of a can. A salad was iceberg and cucumbers and sorry grocery store tomatoes. Mom still fed us nutritiously, and in the summer we had it all, but most folk like to think about the good ol' days who weren't there. My mom was an excellent cook who made the most of what we had when we had it, and we lived over much of the country and in Europe. But the reason people learned to use what was locally available was sometimes because they couldn't get anything else. I've never had Polk Salad (I've read it spelled all of the above, most often Poke Salat), but plan on asking an Appalachian friend tomorrow.
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Old 07-23-2005, 08:50 AM   #20
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I suppose I'm like one of those 'talking heads' you mention. I advocate, where possible, eating meats/vegs/fruits in season. That doesn't mean I turn my nose up at Dutch or Canary tomatoes in our winter. But what it does mean is I CHOOSE the vegetables, meats etc available locally at the proper season - in preference to imported or frozen foods.

For instance, Welsh or Scots spring lamb is vastly superior to chilled lamb brought all the way from, say, New Zealand. I do not buy frozen meat of any kind, or fish.
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