Saturday, April 25, 2015

Poke Sallet: A great Southern Springtime tradition and yummy too!


Thought some of y'all might find this interesting. Just picked me a big mess from way out back by the blacksmith shop. It was a delicacy I looked forward to every spring when I was growing up in Ky. Not to mention the home made corn bread at nearly every meal. Many of our Confederate ancestors used it in their meager diets during the WBTS as it grows wild, very prolifically all over the South. --RebBill

Pokeweed is a wild plant that grows almost anywhere there is lots of sun. The roots are extremely poisonous but have been used for various medicinal purposes. The tender young shoots are edible and are considered a delicacy. With the coming of Spring in the southern Appalachian Mountains, they love to make polk salad. There is actually a Poke Salad (Sallet) Festival in June in Harlan, Kentucky.

 Poke Salad

 4 quarts young tender poke shoots or 2 cans poke salad greens
 1/4 cup bacon drippings
 1 teaspoon salt
 3 eggs

Wash poke shoots well. Place in a large kettle with water to coveer and bring to a boil. Drain. Cover again with water, bring to a boil, and cook for another 20 minutes. Drain well.

 Place in a cast-iron frying pan with bacon drippings and salt. Cook at medium heat for 30 minutes.

 Add eggs and stir until eggs are done, Serve with corn bread and green onions.

 From: "Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook", recipe from Janice Miracle, Middlesboro, Kentucky.

Here is recipe for Southern Cornbread over 150 years old from Ora Watson of Deep Gap, North Carolina. She was 82 years old in 1969 when this recipe was given. It was her Grandmother's recipe.

 2 cups cornmeal
 1/4 cup flour
 3 teaspoons baking powder
 1 teaspoon salt
 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
 2 egg yolks
 1 1/2 cups milk
 2 tablespoons shortening, melted

 Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
 Combine all ingredients and mix well.
 Pour batter into a hot, greased cast-iron frying pan and bake for 25 to 3o minutes.

 "Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook".
donna, May 28, 2013

I'm a Tennessean and have eaten poke greens all my life. first pick the poke when it is very young and tender about 6in to 1ft tall. wash greens well to remove dirt and bugs. then place in a large kettle and para-boil them for ten minutes. drain well. in large skillet heat up either bacon grease or butter place greens in skillet and cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. break two eggs and scramble. pour mixture onto greens cook till eggs are done. season with salt and black pepper.

I'm an old Okie boy and I love polk salad so well I set a row out in my vegie. garden
To prep and cook it pick the polk when 6 to 10 in" high I leave leaves whole but cut stems depending on how big they are from 1/2"to 1"long let them sit in a cold water bath for a few min. then wash them through 3 wash waters place them in a pot of hot water cook until they are very limp drain and add more hot water cook until they look like cooked spinach drain in colender

when drained place in iron skillet add bacon drippings cook over med. heat . until almost dry beat 3 eggs in a bowl add to poke salad add salt to taste cook until eggs are done . Serve with brown beans and corn bread. and of course you will need a glass of butter milk. I'm getting hungry . hope this helps jim b

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

3 lb Polk salad -- fresh
1 md Onion -- diced
1 tb Baking soda
1/2 c Bacon fat
3 Eggs

Note: Polk Salad is a spinach type vegetable that
grows wild in the woods. Dissolve the baking soda into
a pot of boiling water. Add Polk salad and cook for
3« minutes. Drain and discard the water. In a FRESH
pot of boiling water, cook the Polk salad until it is
limp and looks like cooked spinach.
Heat the bacon fat in a skillet, add onions, the Polk
salad, and the eggs, and sauté until eggs are done.

 Heaven forbid! It's poke sallet not salad!

 Here's a simple recipe.

 Boil the tender shoots and leaves of the pokeweed and drain twice.

 In a cast iron skillet, fry up some bacon and set aside. Leave the grease in the skillet.

 Stir fry some onions and then add the boiled and drained pokeweed. Turn down the heat and crack an egg in it and stir.

 Crumble the bacon that was set aside and sprinkle over the top.


 Get ready because poke sallet cleans you out like a white tornado.(at least the first mess does)


  1. Tommy Joe White immortalized Polk salad with his tune "Polk Salad Annie" in the late 60's I think it was. Great song and great greens... Yum

  2. Be still me heart..............soooo good, so good.

  3. I need the Tennessee version of the Brown Bean recipe that goes with this, I have been trying to duplicate my late Grandmothers for over thirty years with no luck.

    There is something unique about that regions recipe as I have eaten Brown Beans my whole life but have only had that version once since my Grandmother passed away and that was in little Mom and Pop restaurant in a tiny little town in Tennessee called Tres Vant.. I have come close but there is some spice that I am missing that I can't identify.

    If you can dig something up from a reader Brock, you should have my Email addy.


  4. Why the boil, rinse, boil, drain? What happens if you boil, drain, eat?

    1. Probably lose nutrition by boiling it twice. Just like rice, if you wash it, you lose, so just cook it. :)