Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

mrbigjas

pokeweed

Recommended Posts

so a local farmer's market had some pokeweed shoots for sale last week. the market guy said the farmer had gone through this whole thing of growing them in the dark so that they grew up white instead of green and etc etc etc, and i'm always up for something new, so i bought a couple bunches.

i wasn't sure how to prepare it, so i looked around on line, and found out that it's basically poisonous, and the only way to eat it is to boil it twice, once for a couple minutes and throwing the water out, and again for about 15 minutes until it's very tender, and then sauteeing with garlic/onions like spinach.

which is what i did, and it was delicious. but it was pretty, uh, 'tender,' by which i mean mushy.

so my questions are two:

1. did i just poison myself?

2. is there any way to prepare it so that it's not quite so mushy?

anyone know?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Y'know, I bought some poke once or twice in the spring (maybe from the same guy-- I got mine from Livengood's) and I just steamed it for a while and served it with a vinaigrette. It was a little tender, but not mushy, and scrumpdiddlyumptious.

And I didn't die or nuthin'. Though for all I know, it may have destroyed my liver and I'll die ten years early. Eh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes! You have been poisoned. Most toxic plants that we encounter are only dangerous in larger quantities or if ingested by an infant. I wouldn't worry, but I also wouldn't add toxic things to my diet unless it was really pleasurable. Mushy spinach substitutes don't seem worth it. Alcohol on the other hand.........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Y'know, I bought some poke once or twice in the spring (maybe from the same guy-- I got mine from Livengood's) and I just steamed it for a while and served it with a vinaigrette.  It was a little tender, but not mushy, and scrumpdiddlyumptious.

And I didn't die or nuthin'.  Though for all I know, it may have destroyed my liver and I'll die ten years early.  Eh.

you know andrew, you should come over for dinner more often or something, because it seems we travel in the same food circles. i got this poke from livengoods, too. same place i got the pawpaws from (they said it was the same farmer who grew both), and... some other little-known veggies/fruits that i can't remember now.

anyway, my posting now should be proof that i'm not dead. pokeweed toxicity, i laugh at you! hahahahaha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes!  You have been poisoned.  Most toxic plants that we encounter are only dangerous in larger quantities or if ingested by an infant.  I wouldn't worry, but I also wouldn't add toxic things to my diet unless it was really pleasurable.  Mushy spinach substitutes don't seem worth it.  Alcohol on the other hand.........

ha! totally. i'm a bit wary since a poison moment when i was about 5, when i ate a bunch of berries and had to be taken to a hospital to have my stomach pumped.

this was good though. and i haven't puked yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
you know andrew, you should come over for dinner more often or something, because it seems we travel in the same food circles.  i got this poke from livengoods, too.  same place i got the pawpaws from (they said it was the same farmer who grew both), and... some other little-known veggies/fruits that i can't remember now.

Yeah, it's funny, because when I bought the poke, the guy couldn't stop talking about how healthy and vitamin-packed it was. It was only weeks later when I read an eG thread on it that I learned about its toxicity.

Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to use lead paint chips as a topping; but I love that crunch, y'know?

edit: oh yeah, and dinner? Totally. I'll serve my "Berry Surprise". har har har


Edited by Andrew Fenton (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mrbigjas and andrew,

Have either of you read John Lanchester's "The Debt to Pleasure"? Given the topic, this should be required reading for you both.

  • Like 2

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like you might want to go back and read the earlier thread about pokeweed a bit more closely.

The big issue with poke is not so much poison, but that it basically contains soap (aka saponins). So incorrect preparation of mature pokeweed collected in the wild will make you vomit just the way you would if you'd drunk soapy water.

The blanching and rinsing will remove the saponins. Less mature plants will likely contain less soap.

Pokeweed does also contain mitogens, but you're unlikely to notice the effects for many years to come, and then only if you eat lots and lots of pokeweed, and even then you'd be hard-pressed to sort out which of the many mitogens you ingest was responsable for the damage.


Can you pee in the ocean?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Have either of you read John Lanchester's "The Debt to Pleasure"? Given the topic, this should be required reading for you both.

My favorite food novel! like what Nabokov would have written if he'd subscribed to Gourmet rather than Lepidoptera Weekly.

Therese, thanks for the information. To tell you the truth, I wasn't too worried about the effects of the wee baby poke: what I ate was so young, so delicate, and so tender, that I didn't think there'd be too much bad stuff in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Have either of you read John Lanchester's "The Debt to Pleasure"? Given the topic, this should be required reading for you both.

My favorite food novel! like what Nabokov would have written if he'd subscribed to Gourmet rather than Lepidoptera Weekly.

Note my avatar. 'Nuff said.


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mrbigjas and andrew,

Have either of you read John Lanchester's "The Debt to Pleasure"? Given the topic, this should be required reading for you both.

nope, but it's on my list now. i'll pick it up this week. thanks rlibkind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thought I had picked elderberries..  for elderberry vinegar...OOOPs 

 

48778134387_06b0321926_b.jpg


Edited by Paul Bacino (log)
  • Sad 1

Its good to have Morels

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You made me smile on a horrid day. Pokeweed has a place ;) It is pretty and native and has historical value.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can juice the berries and the extract works quite well for dyeing Prince Albert tobacco sacks, which are in turn pieced into quilt tops. I have a quilt top made just exactly this way. One of these days, I'll get it quilted (but not by me; my quilting days are long over).

 

  • Like 2

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

good thing you checked

 

from webMD

 

Pokeweed is UNSAFE to use. All parts of the pokeweed plant, especially the root, are poisonous. Severe poisoning has been reported from drinking tea brewed from pokeweed root and pokeweed leaves. Poisoning also has resulted from drinking pokeberry wine and eating pokeberry pancakes. Eating just 10 berries can be toxic to an adult. Green berries seem to be more poisonous than mature, red berries.

Pokeweed can cause nausea, vomiting, cramping, stomach pain, diarrhea, low blood pressure, difficulty controlling urination (incontinence), thirst, and other serious side effects.

Don’t touch pokeweed with your bare hands. Chemicals in the plant can pass though the skin and affect the blood. If you must handle pokeweed, use protective gloves.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

  • Sad 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Huh. WebMD says it's poisonous, but in the article to which heidih linked above, Edna Lewis wrote 

Quote

Southern is a meal of early spring wild greens – poke 
sallet3 before it is fully uncurled, wild mustard, dande-
lion, lamb’s-quarter, purslane, and wild watercress. 

 

I'm trying to reconcile these two articles, which I think are both from reputable sources. Do you suppose that in the early spring poke "sallet" the pokeweed toxin wasn't concentrated enough to be a problem? 

 

Not that I plan to try it, mind. 

  • Like 1

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Smithy said:

Huh. WebMD says it's poisonous, but in the article to which heidih linked above, Edna Lewis wrote 

 

I'm trying to reconcile these two articles, which I think are both from reputable sources. Do you suppose that in the early spring poke "sallet" the pokeweed toxin wasn't concentrated enough to be a problem? 

 

Not that I plan to try it, mind. 

Apparently the very young Spring shoots are OK...but even then need boiling to inactivate/extract the toxic stuff.

 

I have a ton of in in the field. Deer won't touch it.

 

Wonder if @gfron1 ever uses it. Its Ozarky as can be.


Edited by gfweb (log)
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@gfweb--   I'd be interested to here from him...    @gfron1.  His thoughts.

 

Before I knew what it was,  I had stained hands, nice berries in a simmering pot with honey.  stewed down and tasted it ( just a little ).  I had no effects , but I'm not going to be using it for a food source.

 

Crazy thing too,  birds and those Japenese beatles     dont eat it either.  HUmmmmm--nature

  • Like 3

Its good to have Morels

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on that WebMD article, @Paul Bacino, I'm glad you didn't try much of that brew. Too bad about the honey...it all might have made a wonderful dye!

  • Like 2

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read several articles about it over the years. Even the young spring greens are quite toxic - though relatively less so - and require careful cooking and processing. Of course the same applies to cassava, which is one of the world's great staples, so it's not necessarily a deal-breaker. You just have to know how to handle it, I guess.

  • Like 1

“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Paul Bacino, you should consider yourself really lucky since this story could have ended really badly. And you should take it as a lesson for the future. Foraging wild stuff is not a joke, you must be really careful and know what you are doing. Confusing phytolacca americana with sambucus nigra is a HUGE error, their fruits are really different. When foraging elderberries you must be really SURE of what you are doing. For example the fruits of sambucus ebulus are really similar to the ones of sambucus nigra (elderberries), big problem is that sambucus ebulus is poisonous. Elderberries are toxic when eaten raw, you must cook them, even after cooking it's better to eat them in small doses due to the diuretic effects.

Please be much more cautious in the future.

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, teonzo said:

@Paul Bacino, you should consider yourself really lucky since this story could have ended really badly. And you should take it as a lesson for the future. Foraging wild stuff is not a joke, you must be really careful and know what you are doing. Confusing phytolacca americana with sambucus nigra is a HUGE error, their fruits are really different. When foraging elderberries you must be really SURE of what you are doing. For example the fruits of sambucus ebulus are really similar to the ones of sambucus nigra (elderberries), big problem is that sambucus ebulus is poisonous. Elderberries are toxic when eaten raw, you must cook them, even after cooking it's better to eat them in small doses due to the diuretic effects.

Please be much more cautious in the future.

 

 

 

Teo

 

*slap* *slap*

 

Now off to your room, mister!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't serve it but it is very authentic to what I do. The folk wisdom is to boil 2 or 3 times with no lid; boil, rinse, repeat. I don't bother because there are plenty of other greens to make for people not to like.

 

As for confusing with elderberries...not even in the same ballpark nor season. Study the shape of the berry clusters to make ID easy. And then realize that elderberries came and went back in July and here we are in September...

 

If in doubt, throw it out. Everything is edible ONCE.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, gfron1 said:

If in doubt, throw it out. Everything is edible ONCE.

 

What a brilliant mantra that is!

  • Like 2

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...