Purslane! With all the rain we've been having in Sydney, purslane is popping up everywhere at the moment. Front yards, street verges, parks, gardens, footpaths, everywhere!
Often ignored as a seasonal weed, purslane is one of the most, if not, the most versatile and useful edible 'weed'. Purslane is reported to have more omega-3 fats and up to 20 times the melatonin than any other vegetable.
Think of purslane as you would lettuce or bok choy, it just looks different and it's a little crunchier. You can eat the leaves raw or cooked and the young stems cooked. Try it in salads, stir-fries, sautéed or soups. Even Jamie Oliver uses it in a pesto.
Below are a few links and recipes to get you thinking. This peach and purslane salad is a simple but brilliant balance of the slight sourness of the purslane and sweetness of the peach and dressing.
Warning: Be extremely cautious where you forage for purslane. Council workers treat it like any other weed and will poison it without hesitation. Know your picking spot very well. Befriend neighbours who don't know what it is or seek out abandoned land and work sites or just grow your own. Once you've been successful growing it, like me, you'll be unlikely to ever get rid of it.
Salad of purslane,mint and peach
Peach, purslane and mint salad
1 bunch of purslane, roughly chopped 1 handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
2 large ripe white peaches, sliced
1/2 cup toasted walnuts/almonds or cashews
1/4 cup crumbled feta or ricotta
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste.
In a large salad or mixing bowl, combine purslane and peach slices. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, salt, pepper and the sugar. Add olive oil to the vinegar mixture. Pour vinaigrette over the purslane and peaches. Add nuts and cheese.