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Mar 11, 2011 12:32 PM

help need advice on a weed/plant grandfather foraged in swamp/ creek

growing up my grandfather in massachusetts use too harvest a swamp weed as we called it at the same time of year as dandeloin greens but found in/ near water only. we called them swamp weed and meme' would cook / boil as as you would spinach etc. heard from older relatives it could be eaten raw too. as i remember it needed to be washed of the very sandy soil it was found in, i was too youg to remember the exact shape style of foliage. i do remember it was not bitter as mustard greensetc. They don't remember the name or where he foraged it , all i know is it was wild and only foraged in spring. If anyone here knows the name of it or where to find it I would love to hear. I have no other relatives alive that remember anything about it. any info on this would be greatly appreciated. google etc just got me more confused and a little scared to try and find it on my own!
thanks i am looking for that taste and memory of years gone by

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  1. Poke? Sorrel? Lamb's quarters?

    1. I believe you may be talking about wild watercress. It is a spring plant that can be found in Massachusetts, and is found in/around water

      7 Replies
      1. re: hypomyces

        thank you hyp. that looks like i remember and thinking of the taste of watercress, i think you are right. now if there were only a place to forage my grandpa went somewhere near webster lake as i remember. i'm gonna check for organic co-ops locally. i think joining one will give me a reason to cook more fresh and locally grown produce and meat. Whole foods is an hour from me, and in Framingham ( i hate all that traffic now that i've been out here for 5 years)
        also to Sue thanks i'm going to check those out too. I knew i should have come here first,slow learner :) =me

        1. re: sterlingfoodie

          I thought of wild watercress, but I've only seen it growing wild in a pond or spring, never in sand. So I thought it probably was not that. So, I learned something too.

          I remember many years ago, an elderly tenant on my Grandparents' property in OK requesting from my Grandmother permission to forage for poke. I suppose he was going into my Grandad's big garden to do so, but I don't remember the details. I am not 100% sure it was poke, but that sounds right to me.

          I think that it must have been a mix of these greens that our foremothers cooked, rather than simply one variety. At the end of winter, but before garden greens were ready to eat, those greens must have looked pretty good to them! Imagine eating dried beans and cornbread all through Feb.

          1. re: sueatmo

            The places i remember going to with g-pa were sandy/ muddy through the woods kind of places and he just pulled them out of soil and in a bag so i sure there was dirt or sand with them washing was saved for at home, we had fishing to do .It may have just been my grandmothers ocd when it came to food or most thing actually.
            evenything was always washed and cooked till almost unreconizable. one visit my mother had with her spending the weekend she went to get some foods her and husband would like for dinner one evening. They bought a very large and expensive 2+ inches thick steak . upon waking to the smell of food cooking @ 8 AM g-ma had decided it would take most of the day to cook a piece of meat that large. after rescuing the steak from the oven my mother had a mostly well done steak end egg dinner/ breakfast not to mention it had not been seasoned in any way. we still laugh about that one and it was over 20 years ago. its still funny . thanks for replys -J

            1. re: sterlingfoodie

              You know, we ate many meals at my grandparents' house when I was young, but I don't remember ever eating beef. It is possible that we did, but I don't remember. What I do remember is eating breakfast (eggs sunnyside up) with toast made in the Chambers stovetop broiler, and dinners of mostly homegrown fresh vegetables, with perhaps a little fried fatback on the side. And perhaps blackberry or peach cobbler or watermelon on the side lawn in the evening.

              I am sure that we spent at least one Christmas Day at my grandparents' but I don't remember the menu, although I am sure it must have been turkey.

              1. re: sueatmo

                We had pig and beef raised for food back then no one had big freezers so it was shared along with the vegie farmers alot of bardering of food and services was done in our family back then. If memory serves me correct our turkey was hunted if we had one, but i do remember plucking chickens for many a meal and i can still clean and prep most fresh water fish. i am probably one of the only people i know who can look at 1/2 a pig and know how to butcher it. my g-pa came home from war and welfare was working for local goverment in exchange for check, he actually helped along with alot of local men to hand dig some of the streets and water lines to houses in town. wish welfare was what it used to be now people just expect a check. sorry a little of subject-J

            2. re: sueatmo

              Poke weed grows wild and is foraged in the spring for the shoots only. Also called poke salet:

              Remember that song with the line, "Poke Salet Annie, gator's got your granny..."?

              As poke grows larger and matures it becomes poisonous as are its berries.

              1. re: morwen

                now that song is stuck in my head ;)