If you are not familiar with purslane, then you are probably tearing it up out of your garden and discarding it as if it were a common weed. Stop right there! Purslane has even more Omega-3 fatty acids than some fish oils. In fact, chickens fed purslane lay eggs that have twenty times more omega-3s. It is high in fiber and chockfull of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and some B-Complex Vitamins. Minerals found in purslane are iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and manganese.
Purslane, or pusley, is a common weed found in gardens and cultivated fields. It is a creeping annual, and is characterized by its thick, succulent, reddish stems, fleshy, oblong leaves, and tiny, stalkless, yellow flowers which are often surrounded by a rosette of leaves.
Like many other leafy greens, purslane has a lemon, peppery taste. The leaves are edible, as are the stems and flowers; though the tough ends towards the roots should be trimmed. It is recommended that the edible portions not be overcooked, in order to preserve the nutrients. Add purslane to soups or curries, or stir fry them with other vegetables. As well, they can be eaten raw in salad or added to a vegetable juice. Purslane is wonderful in a potato salad for an extra peppery kick or to liven up a cucumber and tomato salad. To increase the beneficial effects of the Omega-3 fatty acids, add walnuts or walnut oil.
A word of warning; make sure you are picking purslane and not it’s evil twin – spurge. When harvested, spurge stems will leak a milky white sap that is not only irritating to the skin but, if eaten, will make you sick. So toss the spurge out with the other weeds.