Cottle Farms, Rose Hill, NC
Loved in some cultures, disdained in others, Purslane is a tasty, easy-to-grow succulent that should be welcomed in your yard, not pulled up as a weed.
So, what is purslane exactly? Mostly purslane refers to Portulaca oleracea, a low-growing, succulent annual. Purslane grows all over the world, and there is much evidence that native groups here in America were enjoying it for hundreds of years, and almost every native group had a use for purslane, either as a plant, a salad herb or as medicine. Purslane grows in every state of both the United States and Mexico, as well the Southern Canadian provinces.
The Purslane plant sets seeds fairly quickly (the seeds are also edible), and they remain viable for up to 40 years. New plants take only about a week to pop up from seed in the summer. It is an excellent companion plant in your garden, as it basically becomes a living mulch, keeping soil moist between waterings.
A typical serving of Purslane contains 20 calories, a bit of protein, and several vitamins. It’s incredibly rich in Vitamin E and has about 25 percent of your daily Vitamin C needs. It also contains significant amounts of iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium.
With purslane aficionados, the preference is in eating fresh young plants, and especially young leaves and tender stem tips. The taste is similar to watercress or spinach. Use purslane in salads or on sandwiches instead of lettuce or pickles. Why not try a ham and purslane on rye? Purslane can also be cooked as a potherb, steamed, stir-fried, or pureed and it can be substituted for spinach in many recipes.