Poke Salad: Popular, Free and Tasty: Is It Good for You?

Food, Health
[caption id="attachment_26999" align="alignright" width="480"] Phytolacca americana berry cluster. - Image Courtesy Kyle Hamar.[/caption]In the U.S., especially in the southern states, a popular "soul food" is poke salad (also called poke sallet). Perhaps you are unfamiliar with it. What is poke salad? It is a cooked preparation of the leaves of the common Pokeweed, or Phytolacca americana. How to Pinch Your Poke Ask most anyone and they'll tell you to collect only very small leaves. It is traditional to return to the spots where it's been seen growing before. The leaves are washed, and sometimes cooked in a skillet with some onion. It may then be eaten with scrambled eggs or used in an omelet. Did I say traditional? Why there's even a song about poke salad – Poke Salad Annie...…
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Stemonitis Chocolate Brown Slime Mold – A Health Threat

Biology, Health
A few years ago, I visited a friend’s clapboard house. I noticed on an outside surface what appeared to be (and was once labeled) a fungus - the stemonitis chocolate brown slime mold. A good friend offered the use of her cell phone to take a photograph. It is the image associated with this article. The fibrous and fuzzy brown growth was located in the area right next to an air conditioner condensation runoff. The weather had been unusually humid to boot. Stemonitis, while it is not the most toxic of molds, is of serious concern to health conscious individuals. It is most closely associated with decaying wood. This was the first time the author had ever come across the mold. The spore output of this chocolate brown thready mess…
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