This plant reigns supreme when compared to all other leafy vegetables. That’s right the plant you mercilessly rip from your flower beds and toss in the compost pile is a Herculean überfood. It has been held in high regard since antiquity; Pliny the Elder recommended wearing it as an amulet to ward off evil. Loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, C, & E and chockfull of minerals such as zinc, calcium, potassium, and iron purslane is the Kronos of vegetables. Did I mention that it also has more omega-3 fatty acids (ALA & EPA) than any other leafy vegetable on the planet, and, quite possibly the entire galaxy.
How to Identify & Use:
Purslane carpets the ground and is easily identified by its thick succulent reddish-purple stems and tiny succulent greenish-yellow leaves. In mid to late summer minute yellow flowers appear and eventually give way to seed capsules that contain seeds that resemble poppy seeds. The stems, leaves, flowers, and seeds are all edible. At Larder we love sautéing the leaves and fermenting the stems. While it is not native to North America it has been naturalized, in some areas, since pre-Colombian times. In other areas of North America it is considered a weed. Purslane grows fast and dense. This being the case over harvesting isn’t a worry.