Weeding is a big part of gardening, as most of you know, and staying stay ahead requires a routine.  For me, it is at least twice a week.  To my knowledge, none of my fellow gardeners are using herbicides.  They are choosing organic methods: pulling weeds, mulching, or laying down newspaper around vegetable plants to prevent weeds from sprouting.  I have yet to embrace the “newspaper” idea.  Instead, I continue to pull weeds particularly ground crawler-type weeds.


Purslane, wrongly identified as a weed.

After talking with Antony, a fellow gardener, I have learned the crawler-type weed is actually Purslane and has a “culinary use.”

Searching the Internet, I have found purslane makes a mat that chokes a lawn and is familiar to most gardeners as common intruder.   It is actually a potherb, and often I have seen it mixed in the fresh salad mixes I have purchased at the opened market, but never knew its name until recently.

As stated in The Rodale Herb Book, “purslane, the herb is a native of India and Africa.” There are many medicinal uses for purslane.  To reword Rodale’s Herb Book, one herbalist would express the juice from the plant, and mix it with sugar or honey and drink it to get rid of a dry cough.  Others have used to reduce inflammations of the eyes it by bruising purslane and then applying the juice externally to the eyes.  This herb has been used for female disorders, healing wounds, to combining with other herbs to treat sufferers of the common cold.

I have added a video of “purslain” growning.  You can view it by clicking on the this link:    Purslain, the new spinach (smile)?   Yes, I am trying to cultivate this herb.

Purslane is more commonly used in salads and soups.  The Greeks use purslane in their fresh salads, or sautéed as a side dish.  In Crete, I have learned purslane is mixed with yogurt as a summer salad.   I have yet to try.   It is a pleasant side dish, and medical researchers have found purslane is five times richer in omega-3 fatty acids than spinach.  Also, it is high in vitamin C.  And just think, I have been adding this weed to my compose.

This creeping, reddish brown plant has taken on an entirely new meaning for me.   The watercress comes to mind when eating purslane alone.  Now that I am cultivating this “weed,”  I intend to sauté it.    Weeding has taken on a different for me.  I wonder how many other plants in my garden are actually edible and nutritional.

(An update:  I have tried to sauté purslane with and without the stems.   Neither works for me.   I prefer purslane in a salad.  Share with me your success with this weed if you have cooked it.)

About Harold McCray

Artist in the kitchen enjoying my three passions: cooking, photography, and writing.
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