Thursday, May 10, 2012

Today's Coop- Poke Salat and Poison Ivy


I'm battling a case of poison ivy on my hand this week after I got a little reckless planting some flowers. Our yard may be grass, but wander just a few steps to the edges and Mother Nature owns the land. The woods border our property in all directions and we foolishly made flower beds there. We've just about cleared all the weeds but poison ivy has a way of spreading each year while I am busy doing something else! If you've ever had a case of it, you know how miserable it can make your life. There's an old wives tale that says if you break the blisters the rash will spread, but that's actually not true. The oil of the plant is the only way it spreads on your skin, so if you don't wash quickly after being exposed you can get the rash everywhere you touch. The old saying "Leaves of three, let them be" is usually the case for poison ivy and oak, but not every time. Sometimes the leaves can come in groups of five, seven or nine. One more warning, if you are pulling out dead poison ivy vines in the winter, be sure and wear gloves since the oil in the plant remains for several years!









I found some home remedies at Discovery Health and was surprised to find out relief from the itching was as close as the kitchen! Did you know that cold coffee will take away the itch and swelling of poison oak, ivy and sumac? Appalachian folk medicine says to wash the area with a cup of cold black coffee. The coffee beans contain chlorogenic acid, an anti-inflammatory! Baking soda is another home remedy that works. Just make a paste with soda and water and apply to the affected area. A lukewarm bath with a cup of soda really helps at bedtime too. Don't forget vinegar, it tames the itch from all kinds of rashes. Apply with a cotton ball and then rinse. Water is the best defense, you just have to do it as soon as possible after you are exposed. Urushiol, the oil in poison ivy is water soluble so wash with plain water and plenty of it... then follow up soap and water shower, not a bath. The bath can spread the oil, didn't think of that! Air dry and don't use a towel, the towel can also spread any remaining oil that's on the skin. Better yet, stay away from the culprit and you can skip all of this!

I can't talk about "weeds" without remembering an early Spring rite that we did as a family when I was growing up.  Depending on the weather, my parents would plan a trip to pick Poke greens. It had to be after the greens had actively started growing but before they got much more than 6" tall. That's somewhere around the time that dandelions are plentiful in your yard. If you're not from the South and you've never once heard of poke greens, I'll do my very best to give you the low down on this weed that grows in fence rows and is elevated to health food this time of year... 


I'm including a recipe for Poke Salat, a springtime dish served in the Ozarks. My parents knew just where the plants grew on the farm and would gather up a "mess" to have with fried fish. There are warnings to take into account if you are going to cook wild greens. Once the plant gets big, Poke Salat can make you sick as a dog. The poison, yes that's right poison, is concentrated in the root, stems and veins of the LARGER leaves. Mom would pick only the small leaves from a plant no more than knee high. Rich in Vitamin A, C, calcium, iron, and phosphorus Poke contains steroids that resemble cortisone, making it a helpful treatment for skin conditions like psoriasis, acne, and fungal infections. So how does it taste? Some people compare it to asparagus, it's really more like spinach I think.... definitely an "acquired taste!"

Begin with a “mess” of poke salat, enough leaves to fill a paper sack. Wash and rinse the leaves. Add to cook pot and bring to boil. As soon as it’s boiling, drain and refill with water. Do this two more times. After boiling and draining three times, squeeze out the excess water. Add bacon grease to a skillet on medium heat. Saute in pan just to heat through. Salt to taste. Optional, but a must if you want the greens to taste good... cook with a half cup of chopped onions and bacon or country ham!


Roundup now makes a spray just for poison ivy. You simply spray the leaves and the herbicide kills all the way down to the root of the plant in just a few days. It works on other hard to control weeds too like poison sumac, kudzu and even blackberry brambles. It even works on stumps in your yard, the ones that re-sprout each season.The Farmer's Co-op can help you out with whatever weed, pest or lawn problem you might be having.
Behind the counter at the Co-op you'll find friendly faces like Dan Callahan who manages the Sallisaw, Oklahoma location. Since 1989 he's been helping out customers, you don't find that at your big box stores.
This week at your local Farmer's Co-op you can find some beautiful hanging flower baskets and herb planters for only $12.99 each. If you live in the River Valley, drop by the Fort Smith location and Mothers will be treated to a geranium this coming Saturday May 12th!
One more "recipe" this week for all the Moms out there...

Happy Mother's Day!

12 comments:

  1. I feel your pain Granny!
    Over spring break, we went to middle Georgia to clean up an old family cemetery, looking for my Rev.War Granddaddy. One week later, my husband and I had a TERRIBLE case of poison ivy. Had to go to the Dr. and she said that due to the mild winter - she was treating cases of poison ivy in the dead of winter!! Will finish cleaning the cemetery in Jan. and take a gal. of RoundUp for poison ivy with us!!

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    1. Miserable... I had to resort to getting a steriod shot last weekend! It did the trick, the itching stopped. We sprayed Roundup and think we have things under control again...

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  2. Have never encourntered poison ivy and don't think I want to...who would have thought to put cold coffee on it, glad it helps. Now for that poke salad....I'll be right over for a bite cause it sounds pretty good.

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    1. Oh it was bad alright, I used Calamine, Rhuli Gel, antihistimines and still I was in sad shape until the Dr. gave me a shot! Lesson learned, I will WATCH for poison ivy before pulling weeds next time! I don't think I've ever had a case of it, but this one I'll remember!

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  3. BIG sympathy from up here. I've only had poison ivy once (knocking madly on wood as I type!) and it was all over my legs, feet and torso, as I didn't know how it spread. I'll never forget it. I hope you get relief from your remedies and that it leaves you quickly.

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    1. Thanks sweetie, I'm on the mend! I vow to be much more observant from this point on!!

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  4. Id like to invite everyone to a post I've just published honoring the TV show "Big Valley", and also actor Peter Breck. Included with this post are 2 personal recipes that was sent to me by Peters wife Diane, so please stop by and say hello and share your memories of this classic TV show. Richard

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    1. Thanks so much Richard for letting us know about this great post. Our family watched Big Valley every week when I was a kid. It was so nice of the Brecks to share recipes with you, aren't you glad you contacted them!

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  5. I get poison ivy every year, and appreciate your post on it today! It just seems to find me and now that I am reminded of what to look for, I can watch for it! THANKS for that!!

    I hope you're enjoying your day!!

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    1. I was not paying attention when I was in the flowerbed, I was in weed pulling mode! This was so painful, not just itchy. We got out and pulled every last vine (both wearing long sleeves and gloves, then sprayed the Roundup Poison Ivy killer. The thing is, living in the woods it's not over... we will have to keep a keen eye out for more.

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  6. Your photos are just amazing! I am so in love with them!

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    1. Thank you so much for coming for a visit today! I blog for our Co-op on Thursdays, the rest of the time it's whatever is rolling around in this brain of mine...

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