Wild Food

As you have heard, we have been battling the weeds this year. I took some pictures recently of some of the weeds and the handy plant identification that is now part of the Apple Photos, went ahead and identified some of them. Suddenly on Pinterest I was getting recipes for a plant called Purslane. Low and behold, the most prominent weed in our garden turns out to be a superfood that is super common in cooking in other areas of the world, but is almost unheard of here, other than as a pesky weed.

Kurt had bought me and edible plants book a few years ago for Christmas, “Edible Wild Plants; Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate” by John Kallas, PHD. It covers plants for our region and so I grabbed that to have a look and to make sure there wasn’t something super poisonous that kind of looked like it and to get some more information about what Purslane is. Sure enough, it’s purslane, no poisonous look-a-like to be found, and the book gives so much great information about this highly nutritional plant.

According to the Edible Wild Plants book, purslane is a powerhouse for nutrition. “It has more than double the omega-3s that kale has and, as far as I know, more than any other leafy green ever analyzed. It has over four times the vitamin E of turnip leaves, more than any other leafy green ever analyzed. It has glutathione and other antioxidants and about as much iron as spinach.” (Kallas, 2010).

That sounds like it is worth eating rather than taking to the local compost facility! I went back to Pinterest and took a look at some of the recipes that I plant to try out, especially with such vibrant and healthy purslane taking over areas of the garden where we have removed other plants like the cabbage and onions.

We decided to give it a go with a stir fry dinner. I chopped it up into finger-length sections to go with our other garden harvest additions of peppers, onions, broccoli, zucchini and garlic. Unfortunately, all green vegetables, but if the dogs hadn’t eaten all of the carrots, we would have had a pop of colour! While prepping, I had a bite of the raw purslane and found it to be a very mild flavour with a nice crunch. I will definitely be trying it added into a salad before the growing season comes to an end. As we cooked, Kurt and I pulled a piece out of the stir fry to try on it’s own. It was very similar to a bean sprout, with just a slightly different taste. It was a very fresh plant, so it cooked down pretty well. In future, I would add double the amount we did to the stir fry. It blended in so well.

We will be letting this plant carpet areas of the garden in the future. It looks to be a very difficult weed to get rid of, which we no longer want to do. So instead, we will give it some space to grow and reap the rewards of the free food that needs little to no attention. Seems like a pretty good deal. I also noticed that it seems to be growing out of most of our flower pots as well, so I will harvest those plants as well. I have a feeling some got into the local compost facility and when we bought some dirt to top up some areas, we ended up with it in our yard. I don’t remember this plant being so prevalent in our yard before.

Moving forward, I will be checking out all the weeds growing in the garden. Perhaps we have more edible plants that we didn’t know we had. I’d rather take advantage of them, than pull them and discard them.

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