Purslane is one plant or weed, depending on your prospective, your garden always has plenty of. It grows quite happily in rocky poor soil. It also seeds prolifically and the seeds can stay viable for up to 40 years. The question is are you going to weed it, or harvest if for your evening salad?
Purslane is a fleshly leafy green, that has been eaten for at least 2,000 years. It was cultivated in ancient Egypt and was enjoyed by the ancient Romans and Greeks. It was also know to the Arabs in the medieval period, and may have been cultivated in Europe as early as the 13th century.
Today in this country, it's thought of as a pest and sprayed along with the other weeds. If you have this weed consider it a blessing, Purslane not only is tasty but is also highly nutritious. It has the most omega 3 fatty acids (the same fatty acids found in seafood like salmon) of any green vegetable. It's also high in Vitamins A and C, and has some calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium and potassium. So if you decide to eat it, instead of pull it, here are a few ideas on how to prepare it.
The only thing to bear in mind with purslane is that you either want it raw or just lightly sauteed, or else you wanna cook the [heck] out of it, with an acid like tomatoes. Anything in between is likely to result in the purslane being a bit slimy and most folks don't like the texture.
The young smaller leaves and tender stems are best if eaten raw. While the whole plant leaves and stems are edible, most of the time only the leaves are eaten.The moisture rich leaves are cucumber-crisp, and have a tart, almost lemony tang with a peppery kick. The flavor and texture is best when picked, before the plant flowers in the fall and the leaves become tough.
Use purslane in salads or on sandwiches instead of lettuce or pickles. Try a ham and purslane on rye for something different. It pairs well with other summer veggies, like green beans, tomatoes, cucumber and even eggplant. Toss a handful of young leaves into a green salad for some lemony crunch, or add it to pasta, or potato salad.
Once picked, store purslane stems in a jar with just a bit of water, in the fridge, They’ll keep only for a few days, so use them up right away.
Purslane Potato Salad
Extension Educator, Horticulture
Edible Wild Plants of Ohio and Kentucky Journal Economic Botany 31:76-79.
Baxter County Master Gardener Program • University of Arkansas System • Division of Agriculture • © 2013 BCMG