Purslane, the Tasty and Succulent Weed
|Purslane in all its glory on my deck.|
Although the Upper Great Lakes escaped last weekend's behemoth snow fall, it's snowing now and just below freezing, which means whatever accumulation we get will be heavy. In other words, not much fun to shovel tomorrow.
So we're staying indoors as much as possible. Yesterday I rearranged my gardening books, moving them from the pantry - I know, strange place - to a tall bookcase in the living room. I take pleasure in knowing that they are easier to access and that in a month or so, I will be starting a few seeds indoors.
As I pored over my gardening looks, I was reminded that last summer a grower friend challenged me to do something with purslane, a weed that has culinary uses as a salad enhancement and a soup thickener.
It reminds me of sedum, the kind that makes a dandy ground cover in your garden.
But it's widely used for cooking in North Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia. Purslane is crisp but feels tender when you bite into it and a bit citrusy when you taste it.
I tossed some raw purslane into my salad and it was not unpleasant. I think I will pass on the soup thickening, however. I did find it an interesting addition to egg salad, imparting a hint of lemon and a touch of crispness, not unlike thinly-sliced celery.
Some people add purslane to stir fries. That's something I might try next summer.
Purslane can be foraged. In fact, it grows all over the world. I've seen it erupting out of sidewalk cracks. You can read more right here.
No doubt I'll run across some purslane six months from now. Meanwhile, I'm going to immerse myself in seed catalogs and dream away the rest of January.