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How to Forage for Pokeweed & Mullen in the Wilderness

Learn how to forage for pokeweed and mullen from NYC Outward Bound instructor Marko Yurachek in this wilderness survival skills video from Howcast.


This beautiful purple plant that we're looking at here is called poke sallet or pokeweed and sometimes also called inkberry. These berries turn really, really purple; the ones I have here are dried out, but they make a great purple dye. The nice thing about this plant, this one obviously doesn't have very much in the way of leaves left on it. In the springtime when it first comes up the first sprouts or shoots are excellent and it's a very popular dish.

It's a traditional dish especially in the Southeast. It's called poke sallet or pokeweed and the leaves are collected and boiled just like spinach. So this is a really nice plant. Earlier in the year it would have produced a whole lot of food for us. If you look it's all over this field, there's one over there, there's a whole bunch along the far side of the field, there's a lot of poke sallet up here.

The other plant that's here that's really nice is a perfect complement to our cedar that we found back there is mullein. Mullein is this stalk right here and if we were going to do, instead of a bow drill, a hand drill this would be the stalk of choice for a hand drill. The way it would work is we would take our mullein and break it off and take all of these pointy, prickly things off of it, put it down on our fire board and spin it until we had a fire.

We don't have a fire board I'm just drilling it into the ground, but that's actually exactly what you would do. You just get your mullein, spin it back and forth, break the top part off and spin it. And this is what you would use instead of doing bow drill fire if we had dry mullein, but this is a perfect fire starter. Instead of having to carve a stick it's already made into a nice round stick just like some of the cedar leaves are.

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