Thursday, July 15, 2010

If only we could eat the weeds.

My garden is full of weeds. i see a lot of folks post pictures of their beautiful gardens, everything green and lush, in perfect rows and free of weeds. My garden doesn't look like that. My rows are not straight, my plants are turning yellow from lack of rain, bugs are everywhere and there are weeds, lots of weeds. It doesn't matter how many weeds i pull, there are always more weeds.
i remember joking with my husband not that long ago,'it's too bad we can't eat the weeds'.

Most of the weeds come from the manure we add. We literally plant the weeds right in the garden. The majority of it being Spiny Pigweed and Horsenettle. There is also a lot of clover and crab grasses. This year, besides the usual weeds my garden is being over run with Purslane.

Guess what? Purslane is edible. Not only is it edible, it's really nutritious and it taste good!! The plant is rich in vitamin E, vitamin C and beta carotene, and quite high in protein. It is considered a better source of essential omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy plant.

Purslane is native to China. It was grown as a food crop in India and the Middle East, reaching Europe in the Middle Ages. It was cultivated in Europe for hundreds of years. It was brought to the Americas by the British and Spanish colonists to grow as food and according to Wildman Steve Brill it was Gandhi's favorite food. Kinda cool, eh?

i did a search online for some purslane recipes, and found a handful of recipes i want to try.

Today i made red potatoes and purslane. It was really simple, and really tasty. First i went out and dug some new potatoes, picked a few stalks of purslane and some fresh rosemary. i washed the purslane leaves and removed the stems.

Clean and chop your potatoes, then fry them in a bit of olive oil. After a couple minutes i added the rosemary, about a tbsp chopped. You could add more or less to taste. i let them cook a couple minutes more, till the potatoes began to brown and were tender.
Then remove from heat, and toss with a splash of lemon juice and your purslane leaves. You could use as many or as little as you like. Salt and pepper to taste.

This was really good. i have been munching the purslane raw, but i really liked it kind of wilted like in this dish. i can see it being really yummy saute'd with garlic. The next recipe i really want to try the cucumber purslane salad. i need to wait for a few ripe tomatoes first though...mine are still green.

Not only is purslane one of the most nutritious herbs around, it grows like a weed. :)

1 comment:

  1. I loved this post! So many of our weeds in the garden are actually edible plants. The wild foods instructor I studied with in Portland, OR for a while just wrote his first plant ID and recipe book, and he proposes in it that farmers start cultivating gardens of weeds because of their low-maintenance nature. Here is a link:

    I loved your purslane recipe! I wonder if we have it here in Oregon?