Sometimes it takes a long time for an idea to manifest into reality. And so it is with a brainstorm I had several years ago—create a bed filled with edible weeds at the Garland Community Garden. The idea manifested into reality today but not in a garden bed. Instead, the vision is scaled down to a garden pot and there is only one pot with one weed at the moment.
Yesterday, while planting beets as part of our fall/winter garden, I noted there were several very healthy Purslane plants in the bed I was preparing for beet planting. I gently pulled out about five of them and transplanted them into a 2-gallon garden pot. So far, so good. Today it looks like they survived the trauma of being uprooted.
Purslane (The plant’s scientific name is Portulaca oleracea. Purslane alsocalled little hogweed, pusley and fatweed.) Purslane is best known to most of the world as a weed, but it is an edible and highly nutritious vegetable that is loaded with all kinds of nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids. It grows all over the world, including North Texas—in gardens and even sidewalk cracks.
It contains two types of omega-3 fatty acids, ALA and EPA. ALA is found in many plants, but EPA is found mostly in animal products (like fatty fish) and algae. Compared to other greens, it is exceptionally high in ALA. According to the NIH Library of Medicine, Purslane contains 5-7 times more ALA than spinach.
This “weed” is also loaded with antioxidants (Vitamins C, E, A, Glutathione, Melatonin). Purslane also is high in important Minerals: Potassium which helps regulate blood pressure; magnesium which may protect against heart disease and type 2 diabetes; and calcium.
According to PubMed Central (a trusted NIH database) Purslane also contains high amounts oxalates which may be an issue for people who tend to develop kidney stones as oxalates can contribute to their formation. Science Direct report that combining Yoghurt or coconut with Purslane significantly reduces the soluble oxalate content of Purslane leaves from 53% to 10%.
Also, according to another article in the NIH Library of Medicine: “Portulaca oleracea possesses a wide spectrum of pharmacological properties such as neuroprotective, antimicrobial, anti-diabetic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcerogenic, and anticancer activities.”
PS: IF YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW TO PREPARE PURSLANE-- in addition to washing it off and popping it into your mouth, there are all kinds of recipes for Purslane on the Internet. Just Google "Purslane Recipes". I did and got back About 1,920,000 results