At market on Friday, one of the stands had pokeweed shoots right next to the asparagas. It never surprises me to see bags of nicely cleaned dandelion greens, but this is the first time I've seen poke. It shouldn't surprise me, since older folks around here like their wild greens, but it just wasn't there before that I can recall. Now if they carry Jerusalem Artichokes next fall, we'll be in business!
The following is from The Forager's Field Guide, from Billy Joe Tatum
Pokeweed phytolacca americana
"In fact, the poke plant contains phytolaccic acid in the leaves, roots, and stalks as well as the berries; there ismore in the roots and the red outer skin of the mature stalks than in the mature leaves. Until the flower head forms, the young shoots and the leaves are a fine pot green. The acid is easily removed from the greens by parboiling them, then cooking them in fresh water. I also prefer to parboil the young shoots. If all the colored skin is peeled off - and easy operation, as it stirps off readily - it is not necessary to parboil poke stalks.
Poke is not only a widely distributed plant but a large one, so there is no shortage of green vegetables when it can be located. If you are new to foraging for poke, look for last year's stiff and broken stalks, then watch for the new young sprouts to appear at their bases. If you pick often and break back the fast-growing plant, you can assure yourself of a crop that often continues into summer. It's not unusual to have another fresh crop of sprouts in the fall, too."