One of the prettier weeds that grow in my yard is purslane. Chances are, no matter where you live in the world, you probably have some form of purslane growing in your yard. The stuff will grow in just about any condition on the planet. Actually, I think there was rumours that Neil Armstrong found some on the moon as well.
All in all, purslane is not an unattractive plant. It makes a very nice ground cover if you are feeling particularly lazy. As a matter of fact, its matting nature will actually block many other weeds from growing, if you allow it to spread out and unbutton its pants.
On top of that, it is an uber nutritious plant. It is better for you than most of the plants you grow in your garden and it is a tasty plant besides that.
As a general rule, it doesn’t matter how pretty, helpful or nutritious a plant is. Being the masochistic bunch that we are, if a plant does not make us suffer in some way, than it is just not worthy of being included in our garden. And so, purslane is considered to be a weed.
I have to admit, that up until this past year, I did not know much about the lowly purslane. It was a weed. An easy to eradicate weed, with rather shallow roots and a spreading structure that meant one pulled up cleared good foot, but a simple weed nonetheless.
Then I started to hear people extol on the nutritional and culinary uses for purslane. This stuff is a super plant. If there was a nuclear catastrophe, all you would have left would be cockroaches and purslane. Cut off he stem, the stem will still produce seeds. The seeds can remain viable for 30 years.
Purslane is super healthy, too. It is packed with omega-3 fatty acids. A whole cup of it contains a mere 7 calories. One cup will also you provide you with 11% of your daily requirement of vitamin A and 15% of vitamin C. It has lots of other healthy nutrients as well. Low carb, no fat or cholesterol. It is healthier than spinach and is a dieter’s dream.
If you are eating purslane, you are in good company. Gandhi considered it one of his most favorite foods. It is also purported to help arthritis and circulatory problems.
How could you go wrong?
While this is not a cooking blog, I have a great recipe to get you started eating and most people will have almost everything they need for this recipe from their garden by mid August.
Zucchini, Purslane And Tomato Salad
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 crushed garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing zucchini
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
4 zucchini halved lengthwise
3 cups chopped purslane, thick stems removed
1 Â½ cups diced tomato (or halved cherry tomatoes)
Make dressing: Whisk together zest, lemon juice, shallot, mustard, and salt in a small bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until dressing is emulsified. Whisk in pepper and parsley.
Mix Salad: Lightly brush zucchini all over with oil. Grill or cook zucchini, cut sides down first, uncovered, turning once, until zucchini are just tender, 8 to 12 minutes total. Remove from heat, cool slightly, then cut into chunks.
Toss zucchini with purslane, tomatoes, and dressing in a large bowl. Serve immediately.
So give it a try. I mean after all, if you just spent a good part of your time pulling the damn things out of your garden, you might as well make use of them.