This is purslane.
Most people would call purslane a weed. Fewer people know that you can eat it. The internet tells me that purslane is really good for you, so it must be true.
I was 14 when I was hired by my grandfather as a professional weed puller and lawn mower. “Professional”, because I was paid $2.50 an hour for my mad weed pullin’ skillz.
(I just realized those two items are in my current job description, except now I make $0.00 an hour. Does that mean I’m back to amateur status?)
Purslane was the one weed I didn’t have to pull. Grandaddy-o liked to eat purslane, so it was allowed to stay and I let it think it was a cool, happening plant hanging with the big boy tomato plants.
The fact is though, purslane is not at all a cool, happening plant. No, purslane is actually a nerd plant. It ranks highest in Alpha Lineolic Acid (ALA is one of the Omega-3 fatty acids) among it’s green leafy peers. It’s super high in vitamins A, C & E and is a great source of magnesium, riboflavin, beta-carotene, potassium and phosphorus. It always sits in the front row in class and raises its hand to answer every question that is asked.
Around here, you see purslane all over the place. It grows just about everywhere in the world, so chances are good you’ve seen it too. I spot it growing in the cracks of sidewalks, in flower beds and vegetables gardens too.
I pretty much forgot about grandpa eating purslane until I spotted it in my garden this year. (Talk about mama’s weeds.)
Oh riiiiiight – you’re that nerdy plant. The one that’s so good for you. Fine, you be my cheap and easy salad ingredient, I’ll let you hang out with my pepper plants and we’ll both pretend we’re cool.
There are a lot of ways you can prepare purslane – whatever you might do with any green leafy vegetable really. Eat it raw, steam it, saute it, add to your stir fry, talk to it about your squirrel problems. It will totally listen without interrupting and really appreciates all the carbon dioxide you’re breathing down its neck. What an incredible symbiotic relationship you have with your purslane!
So if you’re gonna rip it up our your garden, flower bed or sidewalk crack, you might as well bring it in the house and rinse the dirt off it,
then chop it up and throw it into the salad you’ve made.
The salad you’ve made to serve along side your homemade veggie burger of course,
because the internet told you to. And because you’re cool. We’re all cool.