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I grew up collecting portulaca seeds from my mothers lower beds. It seemed they produced seeds in abundance. However she grew the nursery varieties filled with splashes of colorful blossoms. From the wild edible perspective, purslane, portulaca oleracea is the species I am refering too.

Portulaca oleracea is the wild green variety most gardeners try to weed out. Yet the stems and leaves are edible and make a tasty addition to pot herbs or salads. A garden friend invited me to her farm to pick nettles in late spring. She showed me her purslane, the common name, growing in between her garden rows. She and her husband enjoy purslane cooked in vegetable stir frys as soon as they show themselves. I went home with a bunch and looked up an easy recipe to make with my harvested plants. I found a simple recipe to pickle them which is delicious.

Name: Portulaca oleracea, common name purslane

Parts Used: stems and leaves picked in summer; young leaves and stems are cooling in spring salads; seeds harvested in late fall; high in omega 3’s, the most of any greeny leafy vegetable, Vitamins A, C, E and beta carotene;

Where found: all parts of the world; herbaceous annual; some species native in North America but the wild green variety probably began in Asia, made its way to Europe. However there are records of early settlers finding this plant growing among Native American gardens.

Recipe: this is delicious and makes an easy condiment

Pack quart jar with leaves, stems of purslane

In pot on stove add:
1.5 cups water
1.5 cups organic apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup organic raw sugar
Heat to a simmering boil; then pour into jar, cover and cool. When cooled, place in refrigerator for a few days. Serve cold.

Foraging in our own gardens for edible weeds is satisfying though most us of us have forgotten their benefits. Got another purslane favorite recipe? I hope you will share.

Remember garden varieties such as portulaca grandiflora are not eaten. Know your plant before eating anything you are unsure of. It’s always wise to check 3-5 field guide sources or stop in to your Agricultural extension office for verification.

Please note: Above Photo by Forest & Kim Starr.

Enjoy. Judith


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