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Watch: If You Cook These Veggies Wrong, They’ll Poison You

The Southern Foodways Alliance investigates poke sallet, a leafy green that bites back

Eating your greens is one thing, eating your poisonous greens is another. Filmmaker Joe York and the Southern Foodways Alliance shed light on poke sallet, a Mississippi staple in many households. Poke sallet is a weed that can be foraged and found in the Eastern United States, and in Mississippi, it’s cooked and eaten much like you would prepare and cook spinach. The difference in the preparation, though, is that poke sallet will need its poison cooked off once or twice through boiling.

“I’ve been told that it’s poison,” says Betty Ward, who's grown up eating the plant. “I’ve eaten it all my life; I’ve never become ill. But that’s what I’m told." Apparently, when eaten, the toxins in poke sallet can cause bowel pain, laxative effects, and if you make the mistake of eating poke sallet berries, you could risk ending your life. But once you overcome the dangerous qualities, poke sallet is delicious served with chopped white and green onions with a little bit of salt — which doesn’t sound harmful at all.

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Southern Foodways Alliance [Official]