As the saying goes: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. And so it is with plants. One woman’s weed is another woman’s favorite food. In the United States we consider Purslane, Portulaca oleracea, to be a weed. But in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America it is considered a great food. They eat it fresh and cooked. The stems, leaves and flower buds are all edible. Purslane has more Omega- 3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable. It also has plenty of vitamins and minerals.
I use it in fresh salads, with cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese and a little olive oil and vinegar. Soooo good.
In summer it’s too hot for me to grow lettuce as a salad vegetable, but happily I find purslane growing as a ground cover in my vegetable beds: a gift from mother nature. Just be sure NOT to weed it out of the garden. We can be a little too tidy sometimes.
Other free plants, sometimes known as weeds, include Lamb’s Quarters, Chenopodium album, and Pigweed, Amaranthus retroflexus. These wild greens have high nutritional value and taste excellent when harvested at the right time. Check back to learn more about these guests in your garden.
Here’s what Purslane looks like in its young form.