Purslane is one of the wild greens people the world over collect in parks and sidewalk crevices alike. In Israel and Palestine it is used to make a stew, and it is supposedly one of the most nutritious plants on earth. How had I never heard of it? So I went about it entirely backwards and bought a seed packet since I have zero foraging experience. The seed packet was last summer, and it took FOREVER to germinate- probably because I chronically underwater, but I didn't know this yet. Once it finally grew, I waited too long to eat it and the entire container went to seed. A few seeds somehow made it into my seed starting box, and a few of those hitched a ride with other plants out into the garden. I am on my way to a purslane paradise.
Then I found it at the farmer's market, where presumably they had a similar problem (or success, depending on your definition). And finally, there at the park, no doubt carefully nourished by generations of dogs who mark their territory, I found the real thing. Purslane free for the foraging. I left it there, but apparently that's how you're supposed to eat it, not the cultivated version for cowards like me, but real, wild purslane.
According to The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, purslane is ubiquitous as well as ancient. Seeds have been found from Australia to Iceland. The ancient Greeks, Ghandi, and Thoreau alike praised purslane, whether for taste, the self-righteous joy of eating weeds, or health benefits. It's high in vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.
But, you ask, how does it taste? Like a slightly lemony cucumber, occasionally bordering on sour grass level of tartness, but for the most part very mild. I loved it in a salad, and once the patch in my garden grows back I will try it boiled or sautéed with other greens. I paired it with ribs, because it seemed like to best way to balance out such an aggressively healthy food.
So keep your eye out next time you're at the park. Dinner may await you there.
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I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!