Purslane is a succulent weed that many want to control; however, if you can’t beat it, eat it! It has a mild taste similar to spinach and is packed with nutrients. The leaves, stems and flowers can be consumed.
Purslane contains the most omega 3 essential fatty acids of leafy vegetables. Omega 3 fatty acids are called “essential” because our bodies cannot make them, so we must get them from food. The Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health has more detailed info about Omega 3’s and purslane. Purslane is also an excellent source of Vitamin E and beta-carotene and is a rich source of vitamin C, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorus. One study indicated that purslane contained twice the antioxidants than cranberry and grape seed extracts.
Purslane can be eaten raw (i.e. on sandwiches or in a salad) or cooked (i.e stir-fried or steamed). Do not overcook or it may become slimy. The stems can be chopped and added to help thicken soup. If the stems are thick and you’re eating them raw, it is recommended to cut them off as they will be difficult to chew.
Fun Fact: In Mexico, purslane is called verdolaga and can be added to tortillas and salsas.
Storage: wrap purslane in a moist paper towel and store in a plastic bag in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Recipes: these recipes focus on using common pantry items and other summer vegetables – i’ve heard the cucumber, tomato and zucchini are arriving soon!
More recipes can be found at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.