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Thread: Skunk Cabbage: Edible?

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    Primitive Hunter Jericho117's Avatar
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    Default Skunk Cabbage: Edible?

    I recently bought a Peterson Field Guide To Wild Edible Plants and found out that Skunk Cabbage has a few edible parts!! I never knew this. It said that if you peel the root into thin slices and dry them out a couple hours before cooking they're safe to eat. I make cordage from the fibers from the Skunk Cabbage stem and use it to cover my scent but I never used it for food. Also, you can eat the young whitish green leaves that bloom in early spring, if you boil them in sets of water. Maybe you guys already knew this, but I just thought it was a little crazy. Because when you smell Skunk Cabbage I don't think you'll want to eat it.


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    Member KT_Cobra's Avatar
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    hmm... never even heard of skunk cabbage. They're not around where I live.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    I have a rule. Anything I have to boil multiple times to make it safe to eat....I don't eat.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    I too have a rule about skunk cabbage, having grown up with alot of it around. I don't go near it.
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    Primitive Hunter Jericho117's Avatar
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    Wow, I guess im the only one that uses it. It is plentiful in bogs and im personally going to put its uses into consideration. Food, Cordage material, good scent killer.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jericho117 View Post
    good scent killer.
    But what do you use to get rid of the scent of the skunk cabbage?
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    Primitive Hunter Jericho117's Avatar
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    I take a dip in the lake and just let it wear off.
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    Primitive Hunter Jericho117's Avatar
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    I don't like to buy scent killer for hunting, so I just use strong smelling plants in that area to mask my scent. But of course, I don't use skunk cabbage in an area where there isn't any growing. I tried doing that in the middle of the woods to get a deer, and I waited hours and nothing went near me. Iv'e never killed deer before, small game, but thats it.
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    Primitive Hunter Jericho117's Avatar
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    A good scent killer is fresh Birch Bark. That I don't mind using and keeping on me. I also use it with my traps.
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    Senior Member Chicago Dan's Avatar
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    This site said poisonous.
    Scroll way down...
    http://www.ssrsi.org/Onsite/eatplant.htm

    This was also the only refrence I found for skunk cabbage.
    Note: I don't know this site and have no idea how accurate the info is.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    This is out of Peterson Field Guides “Venomous Animals & Poisonous Plants” page 150: “…..Ingesting leaves may cause gastrointestinal burning and inflammation. Roots, formerly used medicinally, considered narcotic and emetic.”

    From Peterson Field Guides “Medicinal Plants and Herbs” page 230: “….uses: American Indians used root for cramps, convulsions, whooping cough, toothaches; root poulticed for wounds, underarm deodorant. Leaf poulticed to reduce swelling, ate dried root to stop epileptic seizures. Subsequently used by physicians as antispasmodic for epilepsy, spasmodic coughs, asthma: used externally in lotions for itching., rheumatism; diuretic; emetic in large doses. Warning: Eating leaves causes burning, inflammation. Roots considered toxic.

    From Peterson Field Guides “Edible Wild Plants” page 156: “Use: Cooked green, flour. The thoroughly dried young leaves are quite good reconstituted in soups or stews. The thoroughly dried rootstocks can be made into a pleasant cocoalike flour. Warning: Contains calcium oxalate crystals; eating the raw plant causes an intense burning sensation in the mouth. Boiling does not remove this property – only thorough drying.”
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    From Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_oxalate

    "Even a small dose of calcium oxalate is enough to cause intense sensations of burning in the mouth and throat, swelling, and choking. In larger doses, however, calcium oxalate causes severe digestive upset, breathing difficulties and — if enough is consumed — convulsions, coma and death. Recovery from severe oxalate poisoning is possible, but permanent liver and kidney damage may have occurred."

    I made a deal with my liver and kidneys a long time ago. We try to take care of each other for the long haul. Ergo (I really do like that word), Ergo, I avoid calcium oxalate whenever possible.

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    Primitive Hunter Jericho117's Avatar
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    Oh, see it is assumed safe to eat if dried, im not going to feast on it, just sparingly use them for quick snacks. Thats what I don't like, a lot of field guides are different.
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    Tracker Beo's Avatar
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    Why? If you know you run the risk of getting sick or worse, survival is knowing what not to use or eat if you have the info on it.
    There is no greater solitude than that of the Tracker in the forest, unless perhaps it's that of the wolf in the wilderness.

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    Primitive Hunter Jericho117's Avatar
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    True, but that book is coming from an expert. And it said that I could eat them, if im careful, which I am, I have never been poisoned from eating wild plants, and I don't bring a field guide with me into the woods for positive identification. I balance my knowledge with poisonous plants too, I have a whole book on them, and im quite good at avoiding them, but that Skunk Cabbage wouldn't be in a book about edible plants if it wasn't safe to eat if properly prepared. I do recall me stating that a very few parts of the plant is edible if prepared correctly, don't assume im going to randomly grab a Skunk Cabbage plant and start gnawing on its leaves.
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    Tracker Beo's Avatar
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    Way too many other plants to eat.
    There is no greater solitude than that of the Tracker in the forest, unless perhaps it's that of the wolf in the wilderness.

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    Primitive Hunter Jericho117's Avatar
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    Once again true, but in conclusion, as in last resort food options in an area where skunk cabbage is plentiful, I, like I stated before, am going to add Skunk Cabbage to my list of wild edibles.
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    Tracker Beo's Avatar
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    The youngness in you comes out... hmmmmmm.
    There is no greater solitude than that of the Tracker in the forest, unless perhaps it's that of the wolf in the wilderness.

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    From Tom Brown Jr.
    Eastern Skunk Cabbage, Clumpfoot Cabbage, Foetid Pothos, Meadow Cabbage, Polecat Weed, Skunk Cabbage, or Swamp Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), commonly known as simply Skunk Cabbage, is a low growing, foul smelling plant that prefers wetlands. It can be found naturally in eastern North America, from Nova Scotia and southern Quebec west to Minnesota, and south to North Carolina and Tennessee, and also in northeastern Asia, in eastern Siberia, northeastern China and Japan. It is the only species in the genus, although the genus Lysichiton is similar. Skunk cabbage is protected as a state endangered plant in Tennessee.
    In the 19th century the U. S. Pharmacopoeia listed eastern skunk cabbage as the drug "dracontium". It was used in the treatment of respiratory diseases, nervous disorders, rheumatism, and dropsy. In North America and Europe, skunk cabbage is occasionally cultivated in water gardens. Skunk cabbage was used extensively as a medicinal plant, seasoning, and magical talisman by various tribes of Native Americans. While some consider the plant to be a weed, its roots are food for bears, who eat it after hibernating as a laxative or cathartic. While not considered edible raw, the leaves may be dried and used much like basil in soups and stews. But a precaution and warning as to cooking it should be taken.
    There is no greater solitude than that of the Tracker in the forest, unless perhaps it's that of the wolf in the wilderness.

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    Quality Control Director Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    From Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_oxalate

    "Even a small dose of calcium oxalate is enough to cause intense sensations of burning in the mouth and throat, swelling, and choking. In larger doses, however, calcium oxalate causes severe digestive upset, breathing difficulties and — if enough is consumed — convulsions, coma and death. Recovery from severe oxalate poisoning is possible, but permanent liver and kidney damage may have occurred."

    I made a deal with my liver and kidneys a long time ago. We try to take care of each other for the long haul. Ergo (I really do like that word), Ergo, I avoid calcium oxalate whenever possible.
    From the Wiki article:
    Calcium oxalate crystals in the urine are the most common constituent of human KIDNEY STONES.

    I keep away from this stuff even though I really enjoy it: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-taro.htm
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