Purslane: A Nutritious Weed Worth Keeping
Have you ever wondered why a common garden weed is so persistent, hardy and resilient? It turns out purslane, scientifically known as portulaca oleracea, is a highly nutritious plant that grows almost anywhere, all around the world. And what’s more, it’s edible!
Purslane is an annual plant that can grow up to 30 inches wide, with one single taproot that makes it easy to pull out of the ground. It’s an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids. Hence, it has been cultivated for thousands of years in some cultures for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties, and for regulating blood pressure. It’s even believed to have the ability to help prevent diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Despite its health benefits, most people consider purslane to be a pesky weed, and they make a point of trashing it. However, this mindset may change once they realize they could be throwing away a precious natural resource. In fact, all parts of the purslane plant- stems, flowers, and leaves- are edible. They can be eaten fresh or cooked, and they make a great addition to salads, sandwiches, or soups.
Furthermore, one of the most striking features of purslane is that it grows vigorously in challenging conditions, such as dry, sandy soils, muck, and even through sidewalk cracks. The plant is a self-seeder, which means it can create more purslane quickly and efficiently, by cutting off a stem at the node and planting it in soil.
So why not cultivate this weed in your garden? You’ll be rewarded with a tasty and nutrient-rich crop that requires little maintenance, no fertilizers, and no pesticides. Just water it regularly to enhance its flavor and texture, and avoid consuming too much of it if you’re prone to kidney stones (purslane contains oxalates).
In conclusion, next time you come across purslane in your garden, resist the urge to yank it out and throw it away. Instead, give it a second thought and try incorporating it into your diet. You might discover a new and delicious edible weed that contributes to your overall health and well-being. As they say, “Common doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial!”