Purslane: A Mighty Weed

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Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone! For some food ideas, check out my Summer (Ending) Recipes post.

I just spent a bit over two dollars on a hefty bunch of weeds at New Seasons, and I was happy to do it too. Purslane is commenly regarded as weed, but this high in nutrient plant is worth growing, foraging, or, as in my case, buying.

“…recent research findings confirm that purslane is also a rich source of fatty acids, vitamin E, and other key nutrients–making it a prime candidate as a new vegetable crop.”         and

“Norman, at the agency’s Weed Science Laboratory; James A. Duke at the ARS National Germplasm Resources Laboratory in Beltsville; Artemis P. Simopoulos of The Center for Genetics, Nutrition, and Health in Washington, D.C.; and scientist James E. Gillaspy of Austin, Texas, have confirmed that P. oleracea contains more of one omega-3 fatty acid—called alpha-linolenic acid–than any other green leafy vegetable yet studied.
Purslane can be eaten cooked or raw. In salads, it has a mild, nutty flavor and a crunchy texture much like bean sprouts. A 100-gram serving has about 300 to 400 milligrams of alpha-linolenic acid—10 times more than spinach, the researchers found”. Source

I kept coming across references to it in my reading, everything from animals grazing on it for rich in omega 3 meat (from Rebuild from Depression, A Nutrient Guide) to people gathering it and enjoying it on their tables.

And this is a “traditional” green too, used by many other cultures.

“Several ancient cultures have included purslane as a part of their cuisine, including those of Greece and Central America. Russians dry and can it for the winter. In Mexico it is called verdolaga and is a favorite comfort food. There, it is eaten in omelets, as a side dish, rolled in tortillas, or dropped by handfuls into soups and stews.” Source

It reminds me a little of the minor’s lettuce that I used to eat in my younger years with my best friend. It has that more “greeny” wild taste that only comes with uncultivated food. I really like it. We haven’t yet gotten very creative with it, but have been adding it to our (almost) daily salad. It makes my dark green lettuce greens look pale! By the time we’ve added a flavorful dressing, it doesn’t taste that much different than other lettuce, but it has such a great texture! I love it!

You can grow your own, buy it at some farmer’s markets, or forage some (making sure, of course, that you know what you are doing).

Though I have been simply tossing it in a salad, there is a whole lot more you can do with it! Here are some recipes for inspiration.

After reading through those recipes, I think I will get more creative with my purslane! I plan on buying some more this week.

Anyone else have any purslane stories or recipes to share? Anyone tried to grow it (I hear it can take over your garden…like a weed!)?

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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Comments

  1. says

    Hahahaha… I JUST pulled some of this out of our driveway! It is a WEED… tasty though it may be! (No, we don’t eat the stuff that been driven over 😉 ) I showed this post to my father, who just shook his head in wonder about “What you girls are going to think up to eat next…” 😀
    Now, if only we could come up with something to do with the puncturevines… 😉

  2. says

    Thank you so much for you blog, I came across is while researching soaking grains (I’m just beginning so feel equally excited and overwhelmed). I already have a million tabs open ready to do more reading and try some of your wonderful recipes. I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your hard work!

  3. says

    Ok, first question, (already) what’s the difference between soaking and sprouting? The material you’re starting with? In your post about sprouting you mention doing it to make items like cookies that don’t allow for soaking. That leads me to conclude that they have the same outcome but the means are different. I’m wondering then if I can “sprout” store bought flour to make cookies or if you can only sprout un-ground grains? I hope I’m making sense. I think I may be getting more overwhelmed… 🙂

    • KimiHarris says

      Hey Ginger,

      Soaking is when you “soak” flour overnight in buttermilk, or water with vinegar or other acidic addition. Sprouting is done with the whole wheat berries, instead of flour, and you actually let it “sprout” that is, start growing. Don’t get overwhelmed! It’s okay to take things step by step, that’s how we did it all. 🙂 I usually recommend that you add one thing in a month. Hope that helps a little!

  4. Jen says

    Oh my gosh… thank you! We have been fighting this “weed” in our garden beds for the 3 years we have lived here. It is pervasive, and hard to get rid of. Now we don’t have too. 🙂 I had no idea what is was, or that it is edible. I’ll be trying this in a few recipes for sure!

  5. Lisa Imerman says

    Purslane is the superfood of weeds!! Our CSA has it growing wild around and so we can always get as much as we want. I usually forget to get it when we are there as we are so busy getting all our other things for the week. I will have to get some on Friday, thanks for the reminder about this great food.

  6. Cheryl says

    We’ve been eating this since I was a kid! Never knew how great it was nutritionally until recently. We make it very simple….. purslane, cucumbers, olive oil, red wine vinegar and a pinch of herbamare (or salt). We have so much growing right in my gardens, we’ve been eating two to three salads a week! I let it grow right in between everything, only pulling it out by the roots if there is too much. It is a welcome weed!

  7. Christy says

    Thanks for posting that. I knew you could eat it but having some recipes and good reasons to eat it sure do help. We have it growing in various parts of our property as well.

  8. Tiffany says

    My family grows it in large pots outside. Basically after the winter (we live in Michigan) we simply turn the soil a few times and eventually purslane grows (or buckla in Arabic). I don’t know if this would work for everyone but we never do anything different.

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