Friday, September 14, 2012

Polk Salad -- or is that Poke Salad?

Photo: Pokeweed Festival

Pokeweed is often harvested in the wild. It is used as a green, but far from being a superfood, it's actually poisonous. The way polk salad eaters get around that inconvenient fact is to boil it, and boil it again.

The first time polk salad appeared on my radar was when I heard the immortal song by Tony Joe White, Polk Salad Annie. It's a shame the gator got her granny, though.

Pokeweed is native to the southeastern US, and it's young leaves have a flavour resembling spinach or asparagus. Every spring for the past 38 years, the Poke Salad Festival has been held in Blanchard, Louisiana. Events include a parade, a carnival, a pet parade, a treasure hunt, and a beauty pageant.

As a bonus, the pokeberry yields a gorgeous purple dye.

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