With edible landscaping and food foraging on the rise, the status of the Purslane, the summer annual found creeping through garden aisles and springing from sidewalk cracks, has shifted from weed to gourmet. The annual succulent has smooth, reddish stems with alternating leaves clustered at stem joints and ends and yellow flowers that open throughout the summer months (pictured above on the tip of the plant, just beginning to open). The stems, leaves and flowers are all edible and over the past few years they’ve begun to find their way into farmer’s markets, gourmet restaurants, and the produce section of your local grocery store.
An excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular), vitamin A, C, & B, carotenoids and dietary minerals (notably magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron), purslane has a slightly sour and salty taste and can be served fresh in a salad, stir-fried, and cooked in soups or with fish and meats.
If you’ve never tried purslane before (and happen to find it in your CSA share this week), here’s a simple recipe to try:
Greek Island Chickpea Salad with Purslane & Arugula, from the NY Times
1 cup drained cooked or canned chickpeas
1 teaspoon brine-cured or rinsed salt-cured capers
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or as needed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or as needed
1½ cups arugula leaves, torn into pieces
1½ to 2 cups purslane with tender stems, cut into 1-inch lengths, or
¾ cup purslane leaves.
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine chickpeas, capers, garlic and scallion. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Mix well, and season with salt to taste.
2. Add arugula and purslane, and mix well. Season with additional oil, lemon juice and salt as desired. Serve immediately.