purslane wild plant

What is Purslane and How to Use It

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Purslane is a tasty and nutritious plant everyone should know about. It grows wild as a roadside weed and as an unplanned visitor in gardens. But did you know you can make many delicious dishes with this edible plant? 

purslane edible plant

If you are curious about what to do with all that purslane in your garden, how to cook it and how to use this forgotten potherb in salads and other recipes, keep reading! 

This article covers the most important information about purslane – what it is, how to recognise it in nature or your garden and why you should use this fantastic wild plant.

What is purslane?

Common purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.) is an annual succulent plant from the Portulacaceae family. It is widely distributed throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia, North Africa, Australia and North America.

Even though it is grown as a potherb in some places, you can most often find it growing wild across lawns, crop fields, gardens, roadsides and other areas with high levels of disturbance.

purslane edible plant

Picking wild purslane for food

Common purslane is easy to recognise: its succulent stems are about 2-3 mm wide and up to 30 cm tall. They carry fleshy, smooth oval leaves with alternate distribution.

purslane edible plant

It is commonly found growing as a weed in gardens, fields, lawns and on roadsides. I pick it only at places that are not polluted, for example, at some spots near forests or in my friends’ gardens. 

Purslane plants can vary a lot in size. You may find everything from small plants with tiny leaves to tall plants with large leaves. However, the shape and overall appearance of their habit make it easy to recognise and distinguish them in case you bump into one in nature.

All parts of the purslane plant are edible. It is most commonly used as a leaf vegetable. Just make sure you wash it thoroughly if you picked it at a spot that was not very clean or if you are not sure there were no chemicals used in the garden where you picked it.

purslane edible plant

Purslane nutrition facts and health benefits

Besides being a tasty ingredient for many dishes, purslane is a highly nutritious foodstuff. 

Purslane is rich in minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. It also contains significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins A, C, B-complex vitamins and folate.

It also contains mucilaginous substances – a good source of dietary fibre which makes this plant beneficial for digestive health.

purslane edible plant

Storing fresh purslane

If I won’t eat it immediately, I like to keep my purslane shoots in a glass of water, like a flower bouquet 🙂

purslane edible plant

I put them in a glass with some water at the bottom as soon as I bring them home, in order to keep them fresh and crisp.

You can also just store them in the fridge inside of a plastic bag to retain moisture.

How to cook purslane

Purslane is perfectly delicious to eat raw, but it is also fantastic when cooked. Just put it in boiling water for three minutes and strain immediately to prevent overcooking. 

Cooked purslane can be eaten just with some salt and olive oil or pumpkin seed oil. In fact, that is my favourite way to have it! This plant’s taste and texture are so good that it makes a great side dish on its own.

If you are interested in more ideas on what to do with raw or cooked purslane, check out my other articles about this cool plant, including delicious recipes and tips.

Purslane recipes

More ideas for meals with purslane

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