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A New Wild Edible Discovered: Purslane!

>20 May 2012
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Yesterday, I discovered a new wild edible on our property.

purslane

Purslane!

I’ve actually been pulling it out of the garden all Spring! But as I was flipping through my Wild Cards (a deck of wild foraging photo/info cards by Linda Runyon), I came to one that I thought I recognized. Hey! I think that’s that stuff I’ve been yanking out of my tomato beds!

I took the card out to the garden to compare the photo with the plant, and sure enough, it was purslane I had growing there!

This is super exciting to me. Check out what I’ve discovered:

Key Benefits:

  • Purslane is known as an excellent source of vitamins A, C and E and the essential amino acids. Reports describe Purslane as a “power food of the future” because of its high nutritive and antioxidant properties.
  • Purslane leaves contain Omega-3 fatty acid which regulate the body’s metabolic activities. Purslane herb is known to have one of the highest known concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acid in any plant.
  • The stems of Purslane herb are known to be high in vitamin C.

Therapeutic Uses:

  • Purslane is widely used as a potherb in Mediterranean, central European and Asian countries.
  • Purslane is also widely used as an ingredient in a green salad. Tender stems and leaves are usually eaten raw, alone or with other greens. They are also cooked or pickled for consumption.
  • Purslane is used in various parts of the world to treat burns, headaches, stomach, intestinal and liver ailments, cough, shortness of breath and arthritis.
  • Purslane herb has also been used as a purgative, cardiac tonic, emollient, muscle relaxant, and in anti-inflammatory and diuretic treatments.
  • Purslane is popularly preserved for winter by pickling Purslane in apple cider vinegar with garlic cloves and peppercorns.
  • Purslane appears among a list of herbs considered to help benefit conditions such as osteoporosis and psoriasis.

Landscaping.about.com

The entire plant is edible, and it can be eaten fresh or cooked. It can even be canned or dried for long term storage!!

I picked some tonight, washed it, and ate the entire plant raw. It was delicious! The taste was very much like lettuce; bland, but good. You could also steam, boil, or saute it if you preferred. As a matter of fact, this site has several recipes using purslane.

Isn’t that AWESOME?!

Obviously, I won’t be pulling it out of my garden beds anymore. Or at least, I’ll transplant them if they become too invasive.

Yay for wild edibles!! I do believe I’ll add some purslane to my salad tonight!

Do you have purslane growing around your home? Have you ever eaten any? If you’ve never tasted it, you gotta give it a try! I’d love to know what you think!

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25 Comments »

  • JulieG said:

    My jaw dropped to the floor! I’ve been pulling this out of my garden too!! Gee what’s next? lol

  • Sally { with eager hands } said:

    Gak! I just came in from pulling this stuff out…along with clover and pigweed. Is it easy to transplant? It really is pretty, I just didn’t want it sucking all the goodies from the maters and cukes!

  • Rebecca said:

    We just discovered this this week, too. . .small world! It’s an indicator of fertile, slightly acidic soil. The site I was on mentioned it was good for chickens, too. Have you read anything about that?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Rebecca,

    I haven’t come across that particular info, but it makes sense to me that it would be wonderful for animals!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Sally,

    I haven’t tried transplanting any yet, but definitely try it if you come across anymore ;) Advice a day late, I guess, lol! You know, clover is edible too. But it grows like crazy everywhere, so no need to let it roam your garden ;)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    LOL, Julie :) At least you know now. Try some the next time you find it popping up!! I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised :)

  • Debbie@ouroldhomestead.blogspot.com said:

    This is FANTASTIC! Thank you so much for letting us know! I will be definitely be trying it as soon as it grows back! LOL

  • Emily said:

    Ohhh I pull this out of my garden ALL the time! I’ll definitely keep my eye out for it now and maybe move it if I have to. What a neat thing to learn!

  • JBB said:

    Oh dear…

    Yes, that’s what that “weed” is. Yes, it’s edible. Yes, it can be delicious.

    And I _hate_ this stuff. Because it loves the soil around my tomato and especially corn plants, and it’s tough to get rid of, and it’ll cover my garden if I don’t keep up with the weeding.

    Worst (best) of all, every little piece of it likes to sprout again if you chop it up with the hoe.

    I hope you love the stuff, ’cause you’ll need to eat like a ruminant to keep up with it. :)

    By the way, there are a number of different varieties of it, and they don’t all taste the same. Always try a piece of it before you turn a bunch of it into a salad or soup.

  • Pam said:

    That is awesome to know! This stuff usually wants to take over my garden every year! I love that I’m just beginning to find out that so many of my “weeds” are actually super-foods. :-) Could you share a bit more about that deck you were talking about? I’d love to find out where I could get my hands on one.

  • Michelle said:

    Yep! I discovered it on our place last year, and we love it. Isn’t is so much fun to learn about what our Heavenly Father has placed before us for our nourishment?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Pam, click on the link within the text. Where it says, “Wild Cards”, it’ll lead you to the site you can order them from ;)

  • Tabatha said:

    Dang!!! I’ve been pulling this stuff out of our garden for years! Always considered it a weed because it would practically drown our tomatoes! Well, lesson learned and will definitely not just be pitching this stuff to the side any more! Thanks!!!

  • Emily A said:

    I LOVE this stuff! I let it grow in with my veggies, and snack on the tops as I work in the garden. If you can keep it from seeding it helps to prevent full takeover. The Seed heads are small, but they have tons of seeds in there. The seeds are about the size of poppy seeds and probably could be used the same way if it gets out of hand. I let one section take over at some point and harvested it all to make cream of purslane soup. It was awesome. (I used a cream of lettuce recipe)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Oh man, Emily A! Cream of Purslane soup?! PLEASE share that recipe!! I’ll try to find a cream of lettuce recipe, too. I’ve never heard of that either! ;) Cool stuff!

  • Emily A said:

    I looked around for it, but I have no idea what I’ve done with it! If I find it I will share. (I remember it was mostly cream, and it had onions.)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    LOL… that’s okay, Emily A :) If you come across it, keep us in mind, lol!! Sounds delish!

  • Cuisinette said:

    Hi, I love your website and I would like to recommend few other wild plants, weeds and shrubs.

    Stinging Nettle (taste like spinach but is very benefic to you, much more than the spinach) has great medicinal qualities. Plant it in the shady area in a far end corner of your property (invasive). Use gloves to pick and clean. Stinging nettles heal all arthritic illnesses both externally and internally.

    Elderberry flower and berries, the flower makes a nice cordial for hot summer days and syrup with great medical benefits. The berries are great for making jam and syrup. Nice plant to have around the property and it grows just about anywhere. Lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis

    Spruce or Fir Tip (buds)… the light green new buds are great to make syrup. It is good for cough syrup when you get a cold with fantastic results, and also great for a cordial on hot summer days. Known as medicine for kidneys.
    http://www.ediblewildfood.com/blog/2012/01/recycle-your-christmas-tree-drink-it/

    Dandelions… The bloom makes a wonderful syrup (honey) or jelly and the leaves are great in salads.

    Black Locust blossoms… could be consumed raw or cooked. Syrup, jelly, jams or dried as a tea. It is good for hyperacid gastritis, gastric ulcer, convulsive and asthmatic coughing, insomnia and headaches.

  • SJ Smith said:

    @ Sally – all your ‘weeds’ are edible. I’ve been trying wild edibles and discovered lambs quarter this year. They’re taller than me right now. When the kale became sparse, my hens chose lambsquarter as their favorite green forage. You can munch it fresh, but it’s excellent cooked like spinach. In fact, unless you are the one who cooked it, you’d probably assume it was spinach since it looks and tastes nearly the same. You need alot because it boils down.

    Now the big question? Why don’t we know more about these plants? I asked my dad (age 80) and he grew up eating them. Yet, I never had them until the last few years. I think it had to do with prosperity. It was a sign of wealth to buy your food. And the fact it wasn’t really marketable since it’s wild…. same as summer purslane…. well, knowledge about his wild food was just nearly forgotten. Glad to see so many rediscovering the uses of ‘the wild things’.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Isn’t it funny, SJ, how the “smarter” we think we’re getting, the more we’ve actually forgotten!!

  • emily A said:

    I finally found my recipe for cream of purslane soup! Thought I’d post it… It’s originally for cream of lettuce I just subbed purslane. Unfortunately I didn’t take notes or measure/ weigh my changes.
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    2 cups milk
    2 cups water
    1 head lettuce (I guess I used an amount of purslane that I thought was similar to a head of lettuce, or probably more)
    2 slices onion (I’m sure I used a whole onion)
    3 tablespoons cold water

    Wash and chop purslane fine, put lettuce in a pot with 2 cups water. Add salt, sugar and onion. Cook slowly for twenty minutes. Heat milk (separately)in a double broiler. Blend cornstarch with 3 tablespoons cold water and then pour into hot milk. Cook until it thickens slightly. Add purslane mixture and butter. Pepper to taste.

    Sorry it took so long, obviously I haven’t made this in a while. My family isn’t big on soups unless they are a meal. Or maybe it’s me that isn’t big on making a “first course” then preparing the rest of the meal. ;)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    OOOH, Awesome, Emily! Thanks so much for sharing that. I just dug up a bunch of my purslane to transplant raspberries, but I did dehydrate some and turned it into a powder. I’ll have to try this soup some time!

  • Lynne N said:

    There are so many edible “weeds” that you pull out of your garden it makes me shudder. Chickweed and burdock are volunteers in most peoples gardens, and they spray them with weed killer :( I just leave them grow. I’m convinced this is mana from heaven. Within a very small geographic area you can find cures for what ails us. I think with things they way they are now, we need to make sure that we know and understand the mana we have in our own yards.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    I absolutely agree, Lynne!!

  • Jim said:

    I’ve eaten a lot of Purslane in my lifetime it’s great. Just don’t get it confused with spotted spurge which is poisonous. They look alike.

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