Arkansas Wild Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts and Herbs

| 5/25/2013 5:35:59 PM

Arkansas GirlWhat I mean by "wild" are any edible vegetables, fruits, herbs, and nuts that grow of their own accord. All we did was pick and eat them - no human cultivation needed.

I'll explain some of what I've listed just in case you've never heard of them.

Wild onions don't look anything like "tame" onions, but they are much more delicious. I won't even try to describe them, but we did eat them.

Poke greens - We called them "Poke Salad" and never referred to them as greens. The plant had berries on its vines that when ripe were a deep purple and were said to kill you dead. Some people were too afraid to even eat the greens for fear they'd die, but you simply had to boil them for a good little while, then you'd be good to go.

We girls used the ripe, deep, reddish purple berry juice to "color" our fingernails. The first dip into water, and all our "fingernail polish" was gone. Now that I think back on it, I believe (except for its poisonous nature) the juice from these berries could have been used as cloth dye, but I never knew anyone who was into that kind of thing.

Mullen, Jimson Weed, Sassafras Roots, and PIne Needles were all used as medicines.

Pecans, hickory nuts, and black walnuts are self-explanatory, but "Bull Nettle Nuts" and "Chinquapin Pins" were nuts you just didn't see much of. The ones we found were way back in the woods (on the way to Cousin Callie's house). Never saw them anyplace else. We'd stop and pick the Bull Nettle Nuts, being careful not to prick our fingers in the process as they grew among a hull that looked likes a cactus with porcupine quills. This nut had a strange but delicious taste and "chinky pins" taste like raw sweet potatoes but look like acorns."Chinky Pins" grew on a tree, and from what I remember, these nuts only ripened in late summer or early fall.

6/2/2013 1:15:53 AM

Hey thanks for the info on the Arkansas plants. I will be taking a class next week on "Herbs of the Kansas Prairie," and am eager to learn about our own state.

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