It’s Mid July. It’s hot and humid. The sun has already dried up the Spring bounty. So what is there that makes foraging worth the effort this time of year?
How about one of the most nutritious vegetables known to man? What is known as food in other parts of the world like India or Pakistan is known here as a weed.
That is very unfortunate. In the U.S., people spend hours pulling this out of their garden only to make way for an inferior common vegetable.
So what is this wasted resource? Purslane!!!
Purslane is very easy to recognize. It has succulent leaves and grows in mats. You can find it pretty much anywhere where the soil has been disturbed. Lawns, gardens, sidewalks, etc. It is very prevalent in Urban areas. Literally no one in any city should be going hungry this time of year.
Purslane is excellent in a salad. You won’t even notice it being there as it doesn’t have much flavor. What flavor it does have is pleasant. It chews very nice with a good texture. It is smooth and juicy. It really isn’t bad at all on its own, raw. Some wild plants it’s like “yes, it’s good for you, but it taste like crap”. That’s not Purslane. As I mentioned, in other parts of the world, you can buy it at the market.
That’s actually how it came to America, as it is an introduced species. Brought over by immigrants because it was a valuable food source that they were familiar with.
Have a look at the nutrition information below from Nutrition And You.com. Then consider harvesting this little succulent, rather than pitching it to make way for less nutritional veggies. Just as an example: Purslane has more Omega 3 fatty acids in it, than do many fish. So check it out and stop throwing it away.
Health Benefits of Purslane
- This wonderful green leafy vegetable is very low in calories (just 16 kcal/100g) and fats; nonetheless, it is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Fresh leaves contain surprisingly more omega-3 fatty acids (α-linolenic acid) than any other leafy vegetable plant. 100 grams of fresh purslane leaves provide about 350 mg of α-linolenic acid. Research studies show that consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and help prevent the development of ADHD, autism, and other developmental differences in children.
- It is an excellent source of Vitamin-A, (1320 IU/100 g, provides 44% of RDA) one of the highest among green leafy vegetables. Vitamin-A is a known powerful natural antioxidant and an essential vitamin for vision. It is also required to maintain healthy mucosa and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin-A is known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- Purslane is also a rich source of vitamin-C, and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids, as well as dietary minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese.
- Furthermore, present in purslane are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments, the reddish β -cyanins, and the yellow β -xanthins. Both pigment types are potent antioxidants and have been found to have antimutagenic properties in laboratory studies. [Proc. West. Pharmacol. Soc. 45: 101-103 (2002)].
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.1 g||0.5%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.036 mg||1%|
|Vitamin A||1320 IU||44%|
|Vitamin C||21 mg||35%|