HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


What exactly is poke?

As in poke salad Annie, gator got your granny (TJ White). Is it some sort of wild green?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Yes. Pokeweed.


    Not to be confused with Hawaiian poke (raw tuna salad).

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Perhaps not traditional poke, but we just had salmon poke in Maui -- no tuna.

      1. re: liu

        I think that's usually called "lomi lomi salmon", but a poke by any other name would taste as raw.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          I believe you are correct, Das Ubergeek! So, is a poke always with tuna?

    2. Poke salet (salad is an alternative spelling) is another name for pokeweed. It is a plant that has been used both for food and medicinal purposes going back the the native Americans. The whole plant, especially the berries, is poisonous if not cooked. The leaves are prized by some folks and are, in my experience, used as a complement to turnip or other greens.
      When I was a little boy, my grandmother picked some one day and cooked it for supper, but apparently didn't cook it long enough. She and my grandfather became horribly ill, were hallucinating, and spent a couple of days in the hospital. You can Google poke salet and find out all you would ever want to know about it.

      1. I think you have to pick the leaves when young.And yes,the berries are poisionous.The FoxFire series of books by Elliot Wiggington have about various plants like poke greens,plantains
        which are not poisionous,dandelions, wild mustard,etc and recipes.If you want to try poke greens,you can buy them already canned.I think it's The Allens brand or google canned poke greens to see brand names.Canned poke greens can be found I imagine mainly in the south.

        1. another source of poke info, as well as other obscure greens:


          1. Then theres the classic Tony White song "Poke Salad Annie"(Polk Salad)

            Elvis also recorded this song

            1. I haven't been around poke since I was a little kid. It used to get cooked at my grandparents house from time to time. Vague memories of gathering it, with it mainly growing along fence rows. My recollection of it is that it stank to high heaven when it was cooking. Also seem to recall they'd cook it a while then drain it, add water, and cook it some more. It seems like the preferred manner of serving it was mixed with scrambled eggs.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chimayo Joe

                Very young greens are boiled in two changes of water, then squeezed dry and fried, preferably in bacon grease, often with some egg added. The canned ones can go directly into the skillet after being drained and pressed dry. Prepared that way, I find them to be delicious. Yes, you can just heat up the canned ones, but they're boring that way.

              2. It has a reputation (dont know if it's true) of tasting horrible and being eaten only by people so poor that they cant afford anything else. Someone once pointed it out to me growing in an abandoned grassy lot in a rich part of Tulsa. A well-dressed elderly gent was picking it. He had probably grown up poor and for him it served the same purpose as Proust's madeleine... a ticket back to his childhood.