Purslane – Do I Weed it or Eat It?
I opt to eat it!
This little weed is a nutritional powerhouse. It tops the list of plants high in vitamin E and an essential omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Purslane provides six times more vitamin E than spinach and seven times more beta carotene than carrots. It’s also rich in vitamin C, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorus. It is a good source of antioxidants and dietary fiber. I also has antibiotic properties.
Omega-3s are a class of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. Your body cannot manufacture essential fatty acids, so you must get them from food. Unfortunately, the typical American diet contains too few omega-3s, a shortage that is linked to a barrage of illnesses including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Purslane is native to India and Persia and has spread throughout the world as an edible plant and as a weed. Many cultures embrace purslane as a food.
Purslane has fleshy succulent leaves and stems with yellow flowers. They look like baby jade plants. The stems lay flat on the ground as they radiate from a single taproot sometimes forming large mats of leaves.
Purslane can grow anywhere, from backyards to gardens, sidewalks to driveways. A drought-tolerant succulent, purslane can grow in dry arid soils, but it prefers the fine textured soils of gardens or pathways, where you’re likely to find it. As an annual, if the plant is allowed to go to seed, purslane will grow in your backyard or garden every year.
Before grazing in your yard or picking from someone else’s yard, be sure to wash the purslane thoroughly and make sure it is free of any pesticides (most IMPORTANT!) Keep an eye out at your local Farmers Markets for this green weed. I found some from a lovely Mennonite lady at my local farmers market – organic and fresh picked just the day before. I was at her booth several weeks and asked what was the green baggie – she said PURSLANE. I knew what it was and its benefits so I said “I’ll take all four bags.” They were only $1 each. I told her as long as she came across them in her garden/yard – most Mennonites grow naturally and organic – “pick those weeds and I’ll buy them”. She lit up and said “My pleasure”. In the meantime, I have been investigating my yard and have found some. WHEEE!
Here’s my morning SUPER WEED SMOOTHIE! My dad jokes with me about going out in the yard and getting grass clippings for my smoothies and salads – well, he isn’t wrong. I have dandelion leaves and purslane (wild weeds) from my yard and cilantro from garden in this smoothie. Incredible nutrition from it all.
- 2 cups water
- 1 TB. chia seeds
- small handful fresh dandelion green leaves
- 3 to 4 sprigs of fresh purslane weed
- small handful of fresh cilantro
- 1 frozen banana
- frozen mango chunks (BIG handful)
- small handful frozen pineapple
- NuNaturals liquid stevia (several drops) or your choice of sweetener - to taste
- Blend till smooth in Vitamix (30 seconds or so) and top with favorite toppings - I used Navitas Naturals Trail Mix (goji berries, mulberry and goldenberry blend) and raw cacao nibs.
- May The GREENS Be With You and "Here's To YOUR Health!"