Purslane (portulaca oleracea) is yet another weed I have growing wildly in my garden, but only now have I decided to stop thinking of it as a pesky weed. I am even considering collecting some seeds in the fall, and growing some in its own little garden – away from my onions and leeks which it likes to snuggle up to.
Canadian Gardening says this about it:
Nutritionally, purslane is a powerhouse. It has more than double the omega-3s that kale has and, as far as I know, more than any other leafy green ever analyzed. It has over four times the vitamin E of turnip leaves, more than any other leafy green ever analyzed. It has glutathione and other antioxidants and about as much iron as spinach. It also has reasonable amounts of other nutrients as well as phytochemicals, like all these leafy greens. So purslane is no slouch, not a poison, and definitely worth eating.
Rich in omega-3s
Many people studying the Mediterranean diet think that it is foods like purslane and other omega-3 greens that give the Greeks their good balance of fats. Olive oil only contributes some of the omega-3s; the greens, walnuts, oily fish, and a few other foods give them the rest of what they need.
To help you identify it, it is a spreading plant, looks much like portulaca, and has reddish-green or purple tinted stems that are very fleshy. It has small, inconspicuous yellow flowers.
If you pick only the succulent stem tips, the plant will continue to grow. Remove flowers as they appear, unless you wish to collect seeds. The flavour is lemony-sweet, and they are crunchy when fresh.
As my first experiment in eating it, I decided to try it in its raw form to see how I liked the taste. This salad is not really a recipe – just an idea for using fresh purslane.
I used cabbage, shredded carrot, purslane, olive oil, salt and cider vinegar to keep it as simple as possible. Other herbs, shredded beets, jerusalem artichokes, or even a base of lettuce or some other greens would work just as well.
August 24, 2013 at 12:22 am
Sounds good and definitely worth a try. Don’t think I have any in my garden though but will have a look. Thanks, HW
August 24, 2013 at 2:23 am
I really like it! I hope you do too, it is a super food!
August 28, 2013 at 8:15 pm
Some distance from my garden at the moment but I am sure I have lots of Purslane. Instead of putting it into my compost, I will harvest it next time I weed, which will likely be next summer!!
August 28, 2013 at 11:08 pm
No need to wait till then. Just make sure it is really purslane. There is another weed very similar but the leaves are not succulent, so it is fairly easy to distinguish. Don’t know what this other one is called though.
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August 19, 2014 at 1:31 pm
What a unique salad. I’ve never used purslane before!
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