Purslane: Health Benefits and Recipes

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A Weed Worth Keeping

Celeste Longacre

Purslane, or Portulaca oleracea, is a garden weed that is edible and has many health benefits. Find out the benefits of the purslane plant here, and get a purslane recipe!

Purslane Health Benefits

Like many other weeds, purslane is not only edible but also far more nutritious than many of the crops that we plant! Here's just a few of the health benefits of purslane:

  • Seven times the beta-carotene of carrots
  • Six times more vitamin E than spinach
  • Fourteen times more Omega 3 fatty acids.

Purslane is also said to be a natural remedy for insomnia. It has many of the same health benefits as other leafy greens. Immigrants from India originally brought it with them to our shores, where it has escaped into gardens and backyards everywhere.

What is Purslane: Crop or Weed?

See the purslane picture below. It's a plant most of us consider a weed. I have never planted purslane yet it appears every spring in my garden. A succulent, purslane can tolerate drought and the heat of summer. I let it grow in between my rows of carrots and beets and in other places where it isn’t bothering my veggies. Once it is touching my crops, I take it out and eat it.

To harvest purslane, it's a good idea to pull it up completely, then cut off the stems from the piece attached to the root. Compost the root or feed to your chickens! Some companies are now actually selling the purslane seeds so that it can also be added to a garden on purpose. A delightful, nutritious extra for the enthusiastic gardener.

How to Cook Purslane

How do people eat purslane? Once you've cut off the root, the individual stems needs to be washed carefully. Purslane has little crevices to hold the soil, so you really need to use a hose to get ALL the dirt off. 

  • Purslane is usually tossed into salads or added to soups in the Mediterranean area
  • In Mexico, it’s a favorite addition to omelettes. 
  • Purslane can also be lightly steamed for 4 to 5 minutes, then served with salt and a little butter.
  • Purslane goes very well mixed with cucumber and topped with some oil-and-vinegar dressing.
  • Also try adding purslane to smoothies or juicing it.

Purslane Recipes

Here's a great purslane salad: Fingerling-Potato and Purslane Salad with Grainy-Mustard Dressing.

Or try adding this nutrient-packed green to any soup. I like to add to my purslane to my bone broth soup which is delicious! (You can also add seasonal lamb’s quarters, dandelions, purslane, nettles, amaranth, and herbs for health.)

Another option is to freeze purslane to add it to soups through the cold winter months! See how to freeze greens.

Are you ready to add purslane to your diet? Let us know below!

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Comments

Stephen (not verified)

3 months ago

Though regional plant names are wildly variable, every person who I've known that talks about "lamb's quarters" is, indeed, referring to purslane.

Gale (not verified)

4 months 1 week ago

I have known about purslane for some time but also heard about a look-alike that should not be eaten. Can you elaborate more on these differences? If I have the right one I could sell it and become rich!!

Ruth Arnett (not verified)

6 months 2 weeks ago

My sister-in-law introduced me to Purslane last year, and I ate it in my salads all summer. Glad to read about it’s benefits. Thank you.

Brian (not verified)

7 months ago

Purslane is a treatment for early cancer. Email me

Mapule (not verified)

9 months 2 weeks ago

I knew about it two weeks ago when a friend saw me removing it from the garden as was cleaning.He asked if I knew the plant and I said no.He then said normally pigs likes to eat this plant,and you too google it and find out more about its benefits.Just like Mohau I know it as a weed that grows everywhere.So thank you guys for sharing all the information with us. Mapule from South Africa.