One of the weeds now thriving in DC lawns – and gutters, cracks in sidewalks and vacant lots – is a tasty and incredibly nutritious plant called purslane. I once ripped this plant out and discarded it before I realized that it was edible. If you’re curious about it, I suggest finding some in your neighborhood and not eating it! Who knows how many dogs have marked it? Instead, pick some and cultivate it in a pot or a sunny spot in your yard. You can find it in the store now and then, but I find that the wild stuff is much tastier.
Purslane has more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy plant. It also has vitamins A, B and C and and many other vitamins and minerals. I find it to be delicious raw or cooked.
Be sure to identify purslane carefully before you eat it. It tends to grow around other plants, some of which look a bit like it such as a toxic plant called spurge. One key to identifying spurge is to crack open one of the stems. If a milky substance comes out of it, it’s spurge. Apparently it also tastes horrible so you’ll know if you’ve made a mistake and you’re not likely to eat much of it.
Purslane grows in the most forelorn places. The leaves are green and somewhat thick and the stem is reddish, particularly on larger plants. There are many helpful resources on the web for identifying it. The good news is that it’s all over the place, so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding it.
Any other fans of purslane?
15th and Columbia Rd, NW