Our lawn is inundated by this plant this year - even the neighbor's. So, hubby went to research about this 'weed." Turns out this annual plant is edible, and quite nutritious and easy to grow.
Purslane may be eaten as a leaf vegetable. William Cobbett noted that it was "eaten by Frenchmen and pigs when they can get nothing else. Both use it in salad, that is to say, raw". It has a slightly sour and salty taste and is eaten throughout much of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Mexico. The stems, leaves and flower buds are all edible. Purslane may be used fresh as a salad, stir-fried, or cooked as spinach is, and because of its mucilaginous quality it also is suitable for soups and stews. The sour taste is due to oxalic and malic acid, the latter of which is produced through the crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) pathway that is seen in many xerophytes (plants living in dry conditions), and is at its highest when the plant is harvested in the early morning.
Australian Aborigines use the seeds of purslane to make seedcakes. Greeks, who call it andrákla (αντράκλα) or glistrída (γλιστρίδα), use the leaves and the stems with feta cheese, tomato, onion, garlic, oregano, and olive oil. They add it in salads, boil it, or add it to casseroled chicken. In Turkey, besides being used in salads and in baked pastries, it is cooked as a vegetable similar to spinach, or is mixed with yogurt to form a Tzatziki variant.
As a companion plant, purslane provides ground cover to create a humid microclimate for nearby plants, stabilising ground moisture. Its deep roots bring up moisture and nutrients that those plants can use, and some, including corn, will follow purslane roots down through harder soil that they cannot penetrate on their own.
Purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular) than any other leafy vegetable. Studies have found that purslane has 0.01 mg/g of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It also contains vitamins (mainly vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), vitamin B, carotenoids), and dietary minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron.
Fresh Purslane Herb – What Is Purslane And Care Of Purslane Plant
The hardest part about growing purslane is finding it. Once you have decided to grow purslane, you may find that although you have been pulling it out of your flower beds for years, it has suddenly disappeared. Once you do find a purslane plant, you can either harvest some seeds or trim off a few stems. All purslane needs to grow is part to full sun and clear ground. The plants aren’t picky about soil type or nutrition, but purslane does tend to grow better in drier soil. If you decide to plant purslane seeds, simply scatter the seeds over the area where you plan on growing the purslane. Don’t cover the seeds with soil. Purslane seeds need light to germinate so they must stay on the surface of the soil. If you are using purslane cuttings, lay them on the ground where you plan on growing purslane. Water the stems and they should take root in the soil in a few days.
Care of Purslane Plant
The care of purslane is very simple after it starts growing. You don’t need to do anything. The same traits that make it a weed also makes it an easy to care for herb. Make sure to harvest it regularly and be aware that it can become invasive. Harvesting before it develops flowers will help cut down on its spread. Also, keep in mind that purslane herb is an annual. While the chances are high that it will reseed itself, you may want to collect some seeds at the end of the season so that you have some on hand for next year, rather than hunting for a new purslane plant. If you decide to harvest wild purslane instead of growing purslane, make sure that you only harvest purslane that has not been treated with pesticides or herbicides.
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