So often when we think of gardening, we envision perfectly spaced vegetable plants dotting beds of fluffy black dirt where no weed would even dream of laying down roots. I have been to gardens like this and I leave scratching my head, how on earth do they do that. Let me tell you my garden has never and will never be so perfect. We tend to be a little more free-range here at the Hippie Homestead. I pull weeds to give my seedlings a fighting chance and to keep things as tidy as possible but there are just some "weeds" that I just can bring myself to uproot.
Today let’s talk about the powerhouse Purslane. I first discovered that this was an edible, medicinal plant last year when it was growing sporadically in my landscaping around the house. After doing a little research I decided that I would let it grow this year and try to capture some of its many benefits. Well the plant fairies must have heard my thoughts because this year it no longer graces my landscaping, but my garden is full of it! Where there was none before, now every bed has a least a plant or two. It seems to be best at home alongside my cucumbers and melons. The plants are sprawling together quite happily, and it looks like I am going to have quite the purslane harvest.
So, what is purslane and why should you care. Well this little "weed" to start off with is quite tasty. It has a mild lemony flavor and adds a nice crunch to salads or sandwiches. It can also be used in cooked dishes and can add a thickening element. But that's just the start. Purslane is also amazingly healthy and provides omega-3 acids, vitamins C and E, some B-complex vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese. Medicinally it has been used to relieve urinary and digestive problems. It has been used as an antidote for wasp stings and snake bites and clinical trials in China suggest that it has mild antibiotic effects.
So around here we don't call purslane a weed. It is just part of my garden that nature planted. Until next time!