by Nathaniel Smith
As mentioned in “Summer Solstice Report“:
This is the season for my summer favorite forage food, purslane. To the left is a small patch that I was happy to find on June 27.
Purslane is a succulent related to the garden plant portulaca. It’s an annual that seeds itself very efficiently whether you like it or not. So you might as well like it and consume it! It adds a nice taste and crunchiness to salads and sandwiches, and has exceptional food and health value.
Now with 3 weeks of hot weather, more purslane plants have grown up and flourished. I find that if you keep picking off and consuming the ends of the shoots and the more developed leaves, the root keeps putting out new tender leaves. Then it forms a succulent mat (this one is over a foot across) of salad materials that you didn’t even need to plant.
Theoretically purslane can be cooked, but I prefer to do that at most for a few seconds and only to add as a sort of herb to a plate you are warming up in the microwave. Purslane, like some other fairly sturdy edibles such as bloody sorrel, does contain oxalic acid, of which you don’t want to eat a lot if you have kidney issues; so if that worries you, you can boil purslane as a vegetable or soup ingredient to remove most of the oxalic acid.
Update 8/8/22: Purslane’s unusual combination of drought resistance and an unusual phosynthesis procedure may have implications for other crops; see “Common weed may be ‘super plant’ that holds key to drought-resistant crops.” But not a “weed”! Rather, a good source of greens for salads and sandwiches!