Purslane: Pesky Weed or Healing Superfood?
Do you have this plant growing in your yard?
Do you weed it out every chance you get, cursing it for taking over your lettuce bed or your garden in general? Why does it get so darn big you wonder? Look at this plant? It is everywhere!
Well, actually a purslane invasion is a good thing! This year I planted purslane seeds so I could enjoy an entire bed of it instead of just random patches. I love this plant! I rejoice when it pokes its head through the soil in the summer and winds its way through every pathway in the garden.
I can’t wait until it is big enough to start picking every day. Yes, I said every day. Once you get to know this tasty plant and all of its healthful benefits you will find yourself in your garden searching for new purslane shoots sprouting from the ground.
When I visit people’s gardens I always do a little jig when we find a patch of purslane and then I go on and on about it. People just like at me with a blank stare, are you for real? They are flabbergasted at my love for the plant that they have spent so much time trying to get rid of.
Purslane is a weed. It grows where you didn’t plant it and if you are lucky it shows up in your garden or yard. This weed is a powerhouse of nutrition and contains as many nutrients as any vegetable you have stocked up in your refrigerator.
Purslane is full of beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids. This invasive weed is also very high in vitamin A. You will find vitamin C, B complex as well as nutrients including iron, calcium magnesium and potassium.
Check out the vitamin A content in the nutrient profile chart at the bottom of the page! Not very many vegetables have this much vitamin A. It is truly a weed that supports healthy eyes and your overall wellness.
This lemony flavored green is high in Omega 3’s putting it in the category of healing foods that help to prevent inflammation, support a healthy brain and keep the cardiovascular system healthy. Think of this plant as brain food and eat it!
Purslane has many healing benefits for your body. It has a cooling, anti-inflammatory affect along with soothing and healing mucilaginous constituents. It can be used topically on the skin to soothe, cool and heal bug bites, inflamed skin, stings and skin sores.
Internally it helps to reduce inflammation and speed the healing of the gastrointestinal tract. Adding it to your diet helps to reduce ulcers, colitis and any inflamed area of the intestines.
What do I do with it?
Ok, you probably get by now that I am nothing short of in love with this plant, but how do you actually USE it?
The question really is, if you have it growing, when don’t you eat it. Eat it raw, munch on it as a snack, put a handful in your next green smoothie, layer it into a sandwich, throw it in a soup, toss it in a salad, mince it into rice or lentils, sauté it with eggs…..
Purslane has a delicious tart like flavor that pairs well with egg dishes. Sauté it into your scrambled eggs, omelet and quiche. I love to sauté up a bunch of chard and kale and then add fresh purslane leaves to the mix just before serving.
I like to garnish soups and rice dishes with chopped purslane. Use it in any dish that you would put parsley into. It makes a great sautéed taco filling and we like to eat it as a garnish to just about any vegetable dish.
How do I pick it?
If you have purslane in your yard, you know that it comes in all sizes. It can be a small plant or with enough sun, water and fertile soil it can catapult into a gigantuous green octopus shape with tendrils reaching everywhere.
I pick the leaves at all stages, big and small on all parts of the plant. The leaves are delicious whether they are on the edge of the stem or picked from the very base of the plant near the roots.
I also use the upper 3 or 4 inches of the stem and the flowering buds. You can just pick off the top 3 inches of the plant and use the stem and leaf together. Sometimes you can use more of the stem; it just depends on the plant. I like the upper portion of the stem that is thin and flexible.
Break the stem off at the point where it starts to get stiffer and thick. I don’t use the lower parts of the stem. The entire stem is edible; it is just a little tougher.
I really like to pick purslane just before eating it, but sometimes it gets tucked away in the fridge for up to a week. Store it like you would any other vegetable. Pick off individual leaves for salads and to eat raw with greens. Eat the smaller leaves whole and chop up the larger leaves.
Avoid eating purslane if you are pregnant. Purslane contains oxalic acid. If you are a person that is prone to urinary stones then you know to steer clear of oxalic acid containing foods.
Go out into your yard right now, if it is end of summer you might just be surprised to find some purslane growing. Are you inspired to get some purslane into your next meal?
Where to Get Purslane Seeds
Hello I’m Kami, Welcome to Living Awareness!
I believe every family needs to have someone on board with a working knowledge of natural remedies if you want to take care of your family’s health for real.
When I was growing up, natural remedies was not a mainstream concept like it is now, in fact, you are going to be surprised that I never even heard the word natural remedy until I moved out of the house!
In my early 20’s I met someone by chance that told me about holistic health and herbal medicine. I wondered why nobody had talked to me about it before and had a voracious appetite to learn everything I could.
Now, 30 years later I've helped thousands of people demystify the world of herbal medicine and become empowered in using herbal self-care in their home to prevent illness, take care of common ailments and protect their health naturally.
For 20 years I've had a clinical herbal practice connecting people with plants and their wellness. I've developed and taught herbal curriculum for UCSF School of Nursing and the Integral Health Master’s Degree Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
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