Purslane. My new favorite edible weed. If you missed my post on just how incredibly nutritious this herb is, you’d better go catch up!
After discovering this super food in my garden, I decided to let it go crazy in one of my empty raised beds. And boy did it go crazy! I had fun experimenting with it before it came time to clear out the bed to make room for my new raspberry bushes.
Purslane makes a great thickening agent, much like cornstarch. Here’s how to turn it into a superfood powder to add to your favorite soups, stews, gravies or even shakes!
What Exactly is Purslane?
Purslane is an annual herb that is part of the Portulacaceae family, which also includes portulaca, claytonia, and montia. It is native to Eurasia and can now be found on every continent except Antarctica.
This plant is considered a weed by many because it is very difficult to get rid of once it has taken root. However, this so-called weed is actually quite nutritious and has many health benefits. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals within its milky sap.
In addition to being nutritious, this wild herb has many culinary uses. It can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in soups and stews. The leaves have a slightly sour taste similar to lemons or rhubarb. The stems are more crisp and crunchy and can be used as a garnish or added to stir-fries.
Also known as portulaca oleracea, purslane is a common weed that grows in many gardens and lawns. But don’t be so quick to pull it up next time you see it! This nutritious little plant actually has a lot to offer. Read on to learn more about the many health benefits of this “weed.”
This herb is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, it contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy green vegetable.
Purslane is also a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. This combination of nutrients makes it a healthy and delicious food to eat.
It’s high water content also makes it a refreshing and hydrating food – perfect for hot summer days.
If you’re interested in harvesting this weed from your garden (or even from a nearby park or roadside), here are a few tips to help you get started.
First, pick a bunch of healthy looking purslane.:The best time to harvest the plant is in the morning after the dew has evaporated but before the sun gets too hot.
Look for plants that are growing in full sun and has healthy, bright green leaves. Avoid any plants that look wilted or have yellowed leaves.
Cut the stems of the purslane close to the ground using gardening shears. Give the plant a good shake to remove any dirt or bugs.
Wash the leaves well. You wouldn’t want any dirt or bugs in your powder:
Then spread them out onto a towel to dry.
Pull the leaves off of the stems, and place them single layer on a dehydrator rack, or on a cookie sheet if drying in the oven. This would make a great activity for children to help with. Discard the stems, or feed them to your chickens.
You’ll need a mesh screen or something similar to keep the leaves from falling through the trays after they’ve dried.
I used the ‘fruits and vegetables’ drying setting on my dehydrator, since these leaves are very succulent. The temperature is 135F (57 C).
Using an Oven to Dry Purslane
If using an oven, set it to the lowest setting possible, and keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. It took about 12 hours to dry completely. It should be brittle, indicating that it is done.
Next, place the dried leaves in a food processor or blender, and process until it turns to a powder:
Mine turned out to be a coarse powder, but that was just fine. I stored it in an empty spice jar. You’ll need a lot of purslane to make a significant amount of powder.
The first time I experimented with this process, I only filled one dehydrator tray with leaves; I got about 1 1/2 Tbsp of powder from this amount.
Can I Hang Purslane to Dry?
One popular way to dry purslane is by hanging it upside down in small bundles. To do this, tie the stems together with string or twine and hang them in a cool, dark place with good airflow.
Another option is to lay the plant material out on a wire mesh screen or cheesecloth and set it in a warm, dry place until the leaves are crisp. Whichever method you choose, be sure to keep an eye on your purslane and check it regularly until it’s fully dried. Once it’s crispy all the way through, store it in an airtight container and enjoy it throughout the year!
If you have an abundance of purslane, you may be wondering how to store it so that it stays fresh and edible for as long as possible.
Besides drying purslane, as described above, you have a few other options for preserving it. Read on to learn how to store purslane properly.
You can also store purslane in the refrigerator. To do this, wash it thoroughly, and remove any yellow flowers or seed pods. Chop the purslane into bite-sized pieces and place it in a moisture-proof container such as a glass mason jar or plastic storage container. Place a paper towel on top of it to absorb any excess moisture. Seal the container tightly, and store it in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Purslane is a succulent plant that is known for being quite heat-sensitive. This means that the plant does not do well in extreme heat or cold. However, with proper care, you can definitely freeze the leaves and enjoy them throughout the winter months.
When freezing purslane, it is important to blanch the leaves first. Blanching helps to preserve the color and texture of the leaves. To blanch, simply put the leaves in boiling water for two minutes before placing them in ice water. Once the leaves are cool, drain them and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Next, place the leaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place them in the freezer. Once they are frozen solid, transfer the leaves to a freezer-safe container or plastic bag. When you’re ready to use them, simply take out as many leaves as you need and thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.
Purslane is a succulent plant, which means that it contains a lot of water. In order to freeze dry your leaves, you will need to remove as much of the water from the plant as possible. This can be done by blanching the leaves in boiling water for two minutes, then cooling them in ice water. Once the leaves are cool, squeeze them gently to remove any excess water.
Next, spread the leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer. Freeze the leaves for at least 24 hours, or until they are completely frozen solid. Once the leaves are frozen solid, place them in a freeze dryer and let the machine do its work. Freeze drying can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours.
Once the purslane leaves are dried, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Dried leaves will last for up to one year.
This leafy green is related to the portulaca flower, and its scientific name is Portulaca oleracea. It is succulent, so it retains a lot of water, which makes it perfect for summer dishes. It has a slightly sour taste with a hint of salty flavor. The texture of the leaves are thick and slightly rubbery.
Purslane can be used in many different dishes, but it is most commonly used in salads or as a sandwich filling. The slightly sour and salty flavor pairs well with cucumber, tomatoes, yogurt, eggs, pork, and lemon juice.
My favorite recipe for fresh or dried purslane is to make a sandwich with tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olive oil, sliced and pickled beets, vinegar, and a dash of lemon juice. This nutritious plant adds a bite of zest to the sandwich mixture.
You can also eat it by itself, ideally with a bit of salt and pepper and some lemon juice to help bring out the flavors.
The flavor of the dried purslane reminds me of dried parsley. It’s very mild and nice. I used my powdered purslane in a bean soup last night in place of cornstarch, and it thickened up very nicely. I am anxious to make a lot more for regular use in my kitchen.
You can use it as a substitute for parsley in most cases, putting it in dishes like eggs, pasta, and soups. You can even make pesto out of the herb or pickle it!
Purslane is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. The lowest temperature that it can tolerate is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, it will go dormant and stop growing.
Purslane is a hardy, drought-tolerant plant that is often grown as a summer annual. However, in warm climates, it can persist year-round and may even reseed itself as a perennial.
Purslane can also be preserved by pickling, freezing, freeze drying, or drying. To pickle the leaves, simply wash the herb and pack it into jars with vinegar and spices. Drying is also a simple process; just tie the stems together and hang them in a cool, dark place.
This wild herb has a crispy texture and a slightly sour taste. It is a good source of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. It can be eaten raw or cooked.
Have you ever dried purslane? What’s your favorite way to use it?
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.