Purslane: An Herb or a Weed?

Purslane: An Herb or a Weed?
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Purslane (Portulaca oleraceae), is a potherb, an annual succulent, a green, and to many, a weed. But it's been found to be a source of Vitamin A, C and E, plus contains an omega-3 fatty acid. It also has only about 15 calories per serving! We owe it to ourselves to find out more about this herb that most of us yank out of the ground by the handfuls!
You can eat the wild purslane that you find in the garden or flower beds if you are absolutely sure it has not been exposed to chemicals of any kind. However, the cultivated varieties are often larger and more tender. You'll need a sunny position that is well-drained. Purslane is very drought tolerant, but plant it in good, fertile soil with compost added for the juiciest stems and leaves.

Purslane is best when it's young and tender. Grow it in pots or shallow wide containers and harvest as needed, using mostly top leaves and stems. Once the plant blooms it won't be as tender and tasteful. Just a note-don't confuse purslane with Moss Rose, Portulaca grandiflora, an annual that is grown for it's rose like blooms.

Purslane can be added to soups, similar to the okra is used. You can also add it raw to salads. The crunchy tangy taste is really a great addition. In Mexico it is traditionally added to eggs and omelets. Substitute purslane for the spinach in a Bacon Spinach Salad recipe. It's also great in any type of Greek salad that includes olive oil and feta cheese. You can substitute the succulent leaves for cucumbers in your favorite dill pickle recipe.

Mexican Omelet with Purslane

Ingredients:

2 cups purslane, with stems, diced

6 large eggs

1 cup chopped green onion

butter or margarine

Rinse the purslane. Add the diced onion and purslane to a hot skillet. Sauté about five minutes. Add the eggs and cook as you would a large omelet. Garnish with chopped tomato. Serves three.

Purslane Potato Salad

Ingredients:

6 medium red potatoes, cubed and cooked till just tender

4 green onions, sliced

2 cups young purslane, chopped

1 celery stalk, diced

1/4 cup diced radish

1 cup mayonnaise, light or regular

Mix together all ingredients. Chill and serve.

Purslane Salad

Ingredients:

4 cups chopped young purslane, rinsed

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice or herb vinegar

1 tsp. salt and ground black pepper

1 1/4 cups plain yogurt

2-3 clove garlic, minced fine

Optional: 2 tbsp. minced cilantro and/or mint

Place purslane in a large salad bowl. Toss with oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix the yogurt with garlic, spoon over greens, toss, and serve. 4 to 6 servings.

 

About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.

 
 

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