• Krista

Are You Pulling This “Weed” From Your Yard or Garden?

High Garden Center (the home of Cedar Seeder) is expecting some much needed rain today and tomorrow. The plants will soak it up as we head into the hottest days of the summer so far.

As we were walking around the gardens today, George pointed out a plant that is creeping up in one of the raised beds. It’s a plant that we are purposely growing in other areas of the garden because it is one of the most nutritious plants in the world.

The plant has paddle-shaped leaf rosettes with a tiny, yellowish, 5-petaled flower that opens only on sunny mornings. Its reddish-green stems have branches 4 to 10 inches long. The succulent, thick-fleshed leaves are anywhere from ½ to 2 inches long.

In the wild, this plant is a spreading, self-seeding annual. It can cover your yard with a doily-like mat, shading out other weeds and providing a moist surface for the plants around it.

It is called Portulaca oleraceae, but it is also known as Purslane. You can find it all around the world and it is grown as a potherb in Europe, Asia, and the Mediterranean. In the U.S., however, people often regard it as a weed and pull it from their gardens.

If you are so fortunate to have your garden overrun with Purslane, leave it there. It doesn’t choke anything out, it looks rather nice, and it’s extremely good for you. For instance, Purslane's leaves and stems are rich in iron, and they also contain vitamins A and C, calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.

Plus, Purslane has substantially higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than most domesticated plants. Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fats that are essential for human growth and vital for optimal brain and cardiovascular function. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in high quantities in fish. People spend a fortune on capsules of fish oil from health stores to get small amounts of this nutrient, while unwittingly destroying all the Purslane in their gardens.

Another great thing about Purslane is its taste. Gourmet chefs have been using it for years because of its tangy and refreshing taste.

So if Purslane is in your garden or an unpolluted area of your yard, instead of destroying it, eat it! Just snip a piece—the stems, leaves and flowers are all delicious and safe to eat. The crunchy stems and leaves have a wonderful sweet-sour flavor and are great in raw in salads. You can also bread Purslane stems and put them in casseroles. Or it goes well with fish when lightly sautéed in olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

Don't fret if you can't find Purslane in your garden or yard. Just visit us at a Farmers' Market or at High Garden Center--we have plenty of it. You can get it as a seedling to grow in your garden, as a microgreen to eat at your convenience, or in one of our fresh, nutrient-dense microgreen rolls/wraps.

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