Thursday, July 9, 2015

Edible "Weeds" in Jackson County

Watercress is used most often as a peppery garnish and salad component, but it also has been touted as a health food and a medicine. Long used to stave off scurvy for its high vitamin C content, watercress may also help inhibit tobacco-related cancers and other lung diseases. In addition to vitamin C, the plant is rich in vitamins A, B, and E and also contains both calcium and iron. Considered a traditional Southern treat, watercress is used in sauces, sandwiches, soups, salads, stuffing, breads, vegetables, and main dishes. - See more at: http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1812#sthash.s4pml9gM.dpuf


 I recently watched a video about foraging for food and it got me to thinking about what kinds of foods I could find in my own backyard, or in close proximity to it anyways. Here are a few things you can find in wild right here in Jackson County.

A Mess of Poke

…Poke Salad…Pokeweed…or just plain old Poke.

I can remember my mom going out to gather “a mess of Poke salad”, but I’ve never eaten it. I was able to find it in abundance.

Here are some fun facts about poke salad:

Poke Salad is edible when cooked. Leaves of young plants may be used as a substitute for greens and spinach and the young shoots (boiled in two changes of water) taste like asparagus. 

It was used by some Native Americans as a witchcraft medicine because they believed it expelled bad spirits. ( Because eaten raw it causes diarrhea and vomiting)

Native Americans also used the red dye from poke berries for painting.

Rootstock can be used as a soap substitute

Here is  recipe from the Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook
(found at http://beforeitsnews.com/opinion-conservative/2015/04/poke-sallet-a-great-southern-springtime-tradition-and-yummy-too-3001122.html)
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 cover 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.

(THIS PLANT IS POISONOUS IF NOT PREPARED PROPERLY)





Watercress

Watercress grows in creeks, springs and damp areas. It can be used in salad. It is one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by humans. It is rich in vitamin C and was once used to treat scurvy.

Here is a good article about watercress production in Alabama.

And here is a link to some watercress recipes.

Watercress is used most often as a peppery garnish and salad component, but it also has been touted as a health food and a medicine. Long used to stave off scurvy for its high vitamin C content, watercress may also help inhibit tobacco-related cancers and other lung diseases. In addition to vitamin C, the plant is rich in vitamins A, B, and E and also contains both calcium and iron. Considered a traditional Southern treat, watercress is used in sauces, sandwiches, soups, salads, stuffing, breads, vegetables, and main dishes. - See more at: http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1812#sthash.s4pml9gM.dpu
Watercress is used most often as a peppery garnish and salad component, but it also has been touted as a health food and a medicine. Long used to stave off scurvy for its high vitamin C content, watercress may also help inhibit tobacco-related cancers and other lung diseases. In addition to vitamin C, the plant is rich in vitamins A, B, and E and also contains both calcium and iron. Considered a traditional Southern treat, watercress is used in sauces, sandwiches, soups, salads, stuffing, breads, vegetables, and main dishes. - See more at: http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1812#sthash.s4pml9gM.dpuf
Watercress is used most often as a peppery garnish and salad component, but it also has been touted as a health food and a medicine. Long used to stave off scurvy for its high vitamin C content, watercress may also help inhibit tobacco-related cancers and other lung diseases. In addition to vitamin C, the plant is rich in vitamins A, B, and E and also contains both calcium and iron. Considered a traditional Southern treat, watercress is used in sauces, sandwiches, soups, salads, stuffing, breads, vegetables, and main dishes. - See more at: http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1812#sthash.s4pml9gM.dpuf
Watercress is used most often as a peppery garnish and salad component, but it also has been touted as a health food and a medicine. Long used to stave off scurvy for its high vitamin C content, watercress may also help inhibit tobacco-related cancers and other lung diseases. In addition to vitamin C, the plant is rich in vitamins A, B, and E and also contains both calcium and iron. Considered a traditional Southern treat, watercress is used in sauces, sandwiches, soups, salads, stuffing, breads, vegetables, and main dishes. - See more at: http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1812#sthash.s4pml9gM.dpuf
Watercress is used most often as a peppery garnish and salad component, but it also has been touted as a health food and a medicine. Long used to stave off scurvy for its high vitamin C content, watercress may also help inhibit tobacco-related cancers and other lung diseases. In addition to vitamin C, the plant is rich in vitamins A, B, and E and also contains both calcium and iron. Considered a traditional Southern treat, watercress is used in sauces, sandwiches, soups, salads, stuffing, breads, vegetables, and main dishes. - See more at: http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1812#sthash.s4pml9gM.dpuf
Watercress is used most often as a peppery garnish and salad component, but it also has been touted as a health food and a medicine. Long used to stave off scurvy for its high vitamin C content, watercress may also help inhibit tobacco-related cancers and other lung diseases. In addition to vitamin C, the plant is rich in vitamins A, B, and E and also contains both calcium and iron. Considered a traditional Southern treat, watercress is used in sauces, sandwiches, soups, salads, stuffing, breads, vegetables, and main dishes. - See more at: http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1812#sthash.s4pml9gM.dpuf

Watercress is used most often as a peppery garnish and salad component, but it also has been touted as a health food and a medicine. Long used to stave off scurvy for its high vitamin C content, watercress may also help inhibit tobacco-related cancers and other lung diseases. In addition to vitamin C, the plant is rich in vitamins A, B, and E and also contains both calcium and iron. Considered a traditional Southern treat, watercress is used in sauces, sandwiches, soups, salads, stuffing, breads, vegetables, and main dishes. - See more at: http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1812#sthash.s4pml9gM.dpuf



Cattails

 Cattails can be found in marshy places...often in ditches and around ponds. The uses for a cattail are MANY.

The young cob-like tips of the plant are edible as is the white bottom of the stalk, 
spurs off the main roots and spaghetti like rootlets off the main roots.
 They have vitamins A, B,Cattail lower stalks and C, potassium and phosphorus. The pollen can be used like flour.   -eattheweeds.com




Wild Blackberries 
These can be found in fields and roadsides and lots of places, I'm sure. ( I wouldn't eat them off the roadside because sometimes chemicals are sprayed in ditches to kill weeds and nobody needs that)

These are smaller than the ones you can buy at the store. I think they taste better because they don't have huge, gritty seeds. 
  
I picked some of these and my mom made a blackberry cobbler with them!



Maypops
These have the COOLEST purple flower...this is not a very good photo, but it rained on the poor things all day. 
They are often called passion flowers, and their leaves can be used to make a tea that cures insomnia. 
I found out this weekend that they also grow little green melon like fruits that you can eat ( or step on to make them POP). 

I tried to pull one up so I could root it and grow it in the yard, but I'm not sure if it will work.




Have you ever eaten any of these wild things?
What are some other forageable weeds in Jackson County?

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