Common in our yards but little known in our kitchen, purslane is both delicious and exceptionally nutritious.
Common purslane also known as duckweed, fatweed, pursley, pussley, verdolagas and wild portulaca.
Is the most frequently reported “weed” species in the world.
It can grow anywhere that has at least a two-month growing season. Purslane is somewhat crunchy and has a slight lemony taste. Some people liken it to watercress or spinach, and it can substitute for spinach in many recipes.
Young, raw leaves and stems are tender and are good in salads and sandwiches. They can also be lightly steamed or stir-fried.
Purslane’s high level of pectin (known to lower cholesterol) thickens soups and stews.
I was recently asked by someone how purslane could be edible when he had heard it was poisonous. Purslane is no more poisonous than spinach.
This is a normal food that can be eaten with impunity in the context of a normal diverse diet.
Nutritionally, purslane is a powerhouse.
It has more than double the omega-3's that kale has and, as far as I know, more than any other leafy green ever analysed.
It has over four times the vitamin E of turnip leaves, more than any other leafy green ever analysed. It has glutamine and other antioxidants and about as much iron as spinach.
It also has reasonable amounts of other nutrients as well as phytochemicals, like all these leafy greens.
So purslane is no slouch, not a poison, and definitely worth eating.
Many people studying the Mediterranean diet think that it is foods like purslane and other omega-3 greens that give the Greeks their good balance of fats.
Olive oil only contributes some of the omega-3s. The greens, walnuts, oily fish, and a few other foods give them the rest of what they need.