Poke, Polk, Poke salad, Polk greens whatever you want to call them, are a hidden secret that some of the locals down south don’t even know about. It grows wild and is rarely purposely planted due to its poisonous characteristics. Yes, you read correctly. If consumed without proper preparation, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness and occasional cases of death. With that said, let’s eat up!
Warning: Like most high fibrous greens, Polk can encourage a quick elimination depending on your bodies sensitivity. (It could also be the small trace of poison remaining in the depths of the leaves). Either way, I call it the “Polk Cleanse”.
Step 1: Have a generous friend that’s willing to hit the fields and collect bags full of this organic delight.
Step 2: Rinse thoroughly to remove dirt, bugs, weeds, spiders or any other unwanted item.
Step 3: Boil the venomous vines until you witness a greenish white foam floating on top. (I forgot to snap a photo of the white foam as I was stuck on step 4…. Sorry friends!)
Step 4: Stare at the foam covered greens and debate if you really want to follow through with this toxic (but nutritious) detox. If bravery has overcome your naturally fearful thoughts, continue to step 5.
Step 5: Strain the greens and rinse.
Step 6: Boil it again. This time cross your fingers and do a silent prayer that the white film doesn’t come back and the contamination was left at the previous soaking.
Step 7: Strain and rinse again.
Step 8: Serve it up! First, to your guests of course (mainly to see if anyone gets sick) then when all is safe, proceed by enjoying them yourself.
Today I made a portion into a side dish, similar to a spicy spinach dip. I combined Greek yogurt, cucumber, onion, jicama, jalepeños, garlic, lime, cumin, salt, black pepper and tapatio. Chopped up some polk and viola… Polk dip!
Dear Grams and Aunt Vicki, eating this wild plant will always bring back extremely fond memories with reminders of my time here and the many jokes over plates of Polk poison salad. Thanks for sharing! Love you