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Pokeweed or Poke Salad
Growing beside my patio, is Pokeweed or Poke Salad; a delicacy, I grew up eating in the high mountains of Virginia when I was a little girl. They even just held the 37th Annual Poke Salad Festival, May 12th, 2011, in Blanchard, Louisiana. Since pioneer times, pokeweed has been used as a folk remedy to treat many ailments. It can be applied topically or taken internally. Topical treatments have been used for acne and other ailments. Internal treatments include tonsillitis, swollen glands and weight loss. Dried berries were ingested whole as a treatment for boils, taken 1 berry per day for 7 days. Grated pokeroot was used by Native Americans as a poultice to treat inflammations and rashes. Today independent researchers are investigating phytolacca's use in treating AIDS and cancer patients. Especially to those who have not been properly trained in its use, pokeweed should be considered dangerous and possibly deadly. Now Dr. Jean Weese, Food Scientist, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, claims pokeweed is probably the best known and most widely used wild vegetable in America and Europe. However, a food scientist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, she says no part of this plant should be eaten by a person or animal. "The roots, berries, seeds and mature stems and leaves of pokeweed are poisonous," says Extension Food Scientist Jean Weese. There are at least three different types of poison in this plant -- phytolaccatoxin, triterpene saponins, an alkaloid, phytolaccin, and histamines. Pokeweed, a herbaceous perennial native to America, grows from Maine to Florida and Minnesota to Texas. Indians introduced the first colonists to pokeweed, and they took it back to Europe where it became a popular vegetable. It grows along roads and fence rows, in fields and in open woods. Early American settlers also made a crimson dye from the berry juice. Indians often used the pokeweed concoctions for a variety of internal and external medicinal applications. The berries, which ripen in fall, are also popular with migrating songbirds, especially robins, towhees, mockingbirds, mourning doves, catbirds and bluebirds. Sometimes the birds get drunk on overly ripe berries and fly into closed windows or sides of buildings. For years, people have picked the young shoots and developing leaves (before they take on their reddish hue) off this plant and cooked them. The plant is still used by many people today, and the tender young shoots often appear in rural vegetable markets in the South. Most people boil the shoots and leaves for 20-30 minutes, first in salt water and again in clean water, then eat the plant much like spinach. "The boiling process removes some of the toxins but certainly not all of them," says Weese. Dr. Weese suggests that people avoid this plant no matter how many times your mother or grandmother may have prepared it in the past and no matter how good it tasted. Why would you want to eat something that we know is toxic when there are so many other non-toxic plants out there we can eat?" Now that I think about it, I think I will stop eating it also.The Za
January 14th, 2010 - Shakey's pizza has the best pizza ever. I love the spices in the sauce. It doesn't help the weight loss, but I really needed it today. No, I didn't eat it all... Yet! End of the second week. I need to get more out to take more photos. However, my work schedule, and the weather, haven't really allowed me to yet.
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