Purslane grows like a weed in my vegetable garden. Until now, I’ve treated it like one, too, even though I know it’s edible. But the lettuces have started to bolt, it’s still too early for tomatoes and peppers, and the purslane is so vigorous I’ve been harvesting it instead of dumping it on the compost pile. Another prompt was that I heard it’s selling like crazy at Manhattan farmers’ markets. Why am I tossing out something that requires no effort to grow, that city slickers are lining up to buy? Good question.
Raw purslane tastes a little like spinach, only crunchy. It contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy plant, Wikipedia informs me, and is high in vitamin C as well as a slew of minerals. So it’s good for you.
Cooked for any length of time, it gets mucilaginous (OK, slimy) like okra — a texture that I don’t mind, but lots of people don’t care for. But, like okra, it will thicken sauces and soups, and its slippery quality becomes undetectable. Quickly sautéed, or tossed in to finish a dish, it will just wilt and retain its crunch. You can eat the stalks and the leaves. Be sure to wash it well — purslane grows close to the ground and gets gritty.
I’ve been adding it to green salads, but here are a few other ways I’ve found so far to use my favorite, trendy weed:
You can also pickle it in apple cider vinegar, but I haven’t tried that yet. Anyone got other good purslane recipes?