the purslane patch


Last February my friend Carla wrote a post on her blog Local Forage about the amazing nutritional benefits of purslane. I love to forage for wild edibles like this but I also like growing new things in the garden. So last spring I ordered purslane seeds online (I found them at Sand Mountain Herbs and Territorial Seed) and planted them in my lettuce beds. I ended up with a vigorous crop for most of the summer and was happy to share a big bag of it with Carla (which we ended up eating as an impromptu picnic salad during a show at the Greek Theater in Berkeley.)

Since then I've learned why this plant grows wild; it's really a very hardy weed. This year I didn't sow a single seed and it's now growing vigorously all over my yard. At this point I have so much I haven't quite known what to do with it all. Even though purslane is a tasty (and very nutritious) plant, there's only so much I can eat or share with friends. But today (in an incredibly delayed thought process) it finally dawned on me that I should feed it to the chickens. Doh!

A couple months ago I wrote about starting my "poultry garden" with several plants that would be beneficial for the chickens. I followed this up a few weeks later by also planting rue. I'm not sure why the purslane never crossed my mind. It will be a healthy treat for the pullets now but once they start laying it should be even more beneficial. It's not only the richest source of Omega-3 fatty acids of any green,
leafy vegetable but it's also high in magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and iron. That's got to result in better tasting eggs! 

I tossed an armfull in the run this morning and the girls devoured it. They've been decimating my chard so this is good news all the way around. Hooray! Apparently purslane was Gandhi's favorite food, and now that it's performing so many useful functions in my garden I'm really starting to understand why.

3 thoughts on “the purslane patch”

  1. I decided this year to not pull up the purslane that grows like a weed all over my garden. It is hardy! Even in our Sacramento heat. Apparently you can pickle it. Also I found that it is a typical green in Mexico to include in pork and tomatillo stews. It’s called verdolagas in Spanish. Diana Kennedy has a recipe for it in her “Essential Cuisines of Mexico”.

  2. Yes! I’ve been wanting to try stewing the purslane Mexican style too as I find it a bit too rubbery to eat fresh. My very old edition of Diana Kennedy’s “Cuisines of Mexico” doesn’t have this recipe but I’ve heard that Dona Tomas’s cookbook has a good verdolagas recipe too. Pickling also sounds intriguing. Let me know what you try!

  3. Ha ha. This is the greatest plant! All the usual garden favorites fall to insect pest or disease, but Purslane — more nutritious and better tasting than most of them — grows like a weed. Because it is a weed! Purslane grows around our home, but a friend gave us some large specimens to transplant from her garden. My wife planted it and I think she broke it into quickly rooting parts because it’s now everywhere: in all the planting beds and mulching the blueberries. We had Purslane stir fried Thai style the other night. with Oyster sauce (search for the vegetarian Oyster Sauce recipe online, by Bryanna.) Pinch the Purslane shoots and it branches out and quickly multiplies. I’m going to pickle it come fall.

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