Scott County, Tennessee
FNB Chronicles

This page was updated 06 Sep 2008

The wild greens of Spring

FNB Chronicle Editor

Creases also go by the name of dry land cress, upland cress, bitter cress, and poor manís cabbage

My mother always said she didnít feel just right until she had a mess of wild greens in the spring.

Well, Iím just that much like her. But I feel just fine now because I have already had my first "mess" of creases. Creases also go by the name of dry land cress, upland cress, bitter cress, and poor manís cabbage.

My husband and I find creases in old corn fields and on the banks of country back roads. They grow in clumps and are best gathered while tender, before they form a stem with yellow flowers or "go to seed" as we call it. Just a little later, in mid-April, old cornfields will be awash with yellow blooms on long stems from creases clumps.

After thoroughly washing the leaves, boil them in water slowly until tender. Drain off all water, then fry in oil with a little salt. My motherís always tasted better because she fried her creases in salt pork grease.

Now Iím looking forward to those first tender shoots of poke and some good olí poke salad with cornbread!

There is a revival of interest in wild plant foods because of their high vitamin and mineral content, as well as being just good tasting. Most of the "Baby Boom" and later generations have never learned how to identify wild plant foods and should be cautioned that one part of a plant may be edible and another part of the same plant may be poisonous. Itís best to have someone familiar with wild plant foods show you how to gather them. Also, some plants are safe to use only in small quantities because of their high acid content.

After a long winter, spring is the time to refresh the spirit and tone up the blood with a tonic. Favorite teas or tonics are sassafras tea, spicewood, and sweet birch.

Other delicious spring greens are asparagus, wild onion, ramps, dock, sheep sorrel, rhubarb, lambís quarters, field mustard, water cress, plantain, chicory and dandelion.

It sure would be great if someone who knows how to identify and cook these wild plant foods would teach those of us who donít know, so we can enjoy more "good eating" and pass along this wonderful information to generations that follow us.

We could form a group "field trip" and have an enjoyable day gathering herbs and greens. Iíll organize it, if we have a group interested. Contact me at 569-8586 or 663-2408.

FNB Chronicle, Vol. 2 No. 3 Ė Spring 1991
First National Bank
P.O. Box 4699
Oneida, TN 37841

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