During mid-summer Purslane or Pigweed starts to show up just about everywhere. If you have a garden, you probably have run across Purslane and pulled it out and added it to your weed pile. Next time consider eating it. It goes great in a summer salad. Just mix it in with the rest of your lettuce. Purslane has a mild lemon taste and is packed with nutrients. I often keep some in a Ball jar by the kitchen window and pick as needed.
What is Purslane?
Purslane also known as Little Hogweed, Pigweed, Verdolaga or Pusley is a wild edible that grows in various locations. It has origins in the middle east. Purslane is native to India and Persia. It is widely consumed in other countries. It is a very drought tolerant weed. It has a similar taste to spinach or watercress.
Purslane can be identified by looking at it’s stem and leaves. The stem is thick and reddish in color. The leaves are green and spoon shaped. Purslane likes to grow low to the grown. During later parts of the summer, small yellow flowers will appear and then turn into seed capsules. These capsules that will open dispensing small black seeds.
Purslane has six times more vitamin E than spinach and seven times more beta carotene than carrots. It’s also packed with vitamin C, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorus. It is also a great source of omega 3 fatty acids.
Purslane can be used in salads, couscous, sauteed or added to smoothies. It adds a nice flavor to many meals. Purslane also freeze quite well for later use.
I like to eat it in a salad. Just clip some of the young stems and leaves and incorporate it into any salad.
Poisonous Look Alike: Spurge
There is a poisonous look called Spurge. They both like to grow in similar environments. Spurge grow much lower to the ground and their leaves are much thinner. Spurge stems can also be reddish in color. The primary way to tell the difference is to break open the stem. If it oozes white liquid, then stay away.
Foraging has become a lost art. There are many healthy veggies just outside your doorstep. Many of these weeds can be easily cultivated in a garden. Purslane is no exception. It is a healthy weed that tastes great.