In the garden, we know purslane as a weed, but it is completely edible and very nutritious, containing more Omega-3s than any leafy vegetable plant. It also contains vitamins A, C, E, and B, as well as dietary minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. All parts of the plant are edible: leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds. To me, the flavor is relatively mild, with a bit of a lemony taste to the leaves. The stems are tender and have a more earthy flavor.
There’s a recipe for Purslane and Cucumber Salad in the new cookbook, Bianco, from Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix(if you have never been, their pizza is fantastic!), and I was inspired to finally try eating purslane. You’ll be happy to learn, it’s fabulous. Plus, harvesting and weeding in one fell swoop is really pretty handy.
To prepare the purslane, rinse thoroughly to remove any grit from the garden, then dry in a salad spinner. Pinch off large bunches of the leaves, no need to stem, and toss them in your salad bowl.
Since both purslane and cucumbers are readily available in the garden right now, this is a perfect salad to use as an introduction to this edible weed. A simple lemon dressing, some thinly sliced red onion, and you’re done. I didn’t grow cucumbers, but zucchini worked just as well, as would anything else you like to use in your salads. If you Google “purslane salad”, it’s amazing how many variations pop up.
To think we’ve all just been tossing it on the Bokashi pile. Maybe we should bundle it up and sell it at the Harvest Sale. Hmmmm….