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Poke Sallet and the Weed
Comments re: Signs of fall
By Mike Watson
Thank you for a great photo, Linda. I believe I know where and when that was snapped. Most of us grew up on poke greens. Yes, the plant as a whole is poisonous and must be prepared with care. I still cook up a 'mess' of poke sallet--or salet, depending on the source--once or twice a year, just from my back yard, using tender, new leaves, never the bigger ones near the base of the plant.
The roots are the most toxic part of the plant and we were always warned to choose leaves as far from the root as possible. My mother's family often fried the tender stems and ate as we now eat asparagus, again not too near the base.
There are people who pick the berries to mix with other berries and/or fruit for pies. I do not know anyone who has done this, but have been told by reliable sources that it can be done, when mixed--not as a stand-alone berry.
Or one may use the berries to make dyes, stains, and was and is often used with other ingredients for inks.
Incidentally, it is correctly "poke sallet" or "salet" which is the old term for cooked greens; salad is for uncooked greens, or so some culinary experts from the South will tell you.
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