Monday, December 27, 2010

Edible Weeds


Recognise this garden weed? It's called purslane and grows everywhere. I usually find it growing wild in disturbed soil and in the garden. It's one wild plant that I don't pull out but encourage to grow. It's a great succulent ground cover and is not a weed!

According to a Canadian Living article, nutritionally, purslane is a powerhouse. It has more than double the omega-3s that kale has and, as much as any other leafy green. It has over four times the vitamin E of turnip leaves which is more than most leafy greens. It has glutathione and other antioxidants and about as much iron as spinach. It also has reasonable amounts of other nutrients as well as phytochemicals, like all these leafy greens.


I like it because it is a succulent, so it doesn't wilt and will stay fresh for a long time with just a little water.

I recently began researching the weeds growing everywhere on our property (more in an attempt to get rid of them than anything else.) What I found is that many of them are not only edible but very high in vitamins and desirable phytochemicals!

Another so called "weed" that I have growing everywhere is wild mallow. The leaves and seed pods are good in salad and cooked in soups and stews. Mallows have a lot of vitamin A in their leaves too! The seeds are very high in protein, making them an excellent part of your chicken feed, as well.




The wild mallow that I have everywhere is malva sylvestris but I also grow malva moschata in the flowerbed, another mallow and close relative. It has the same vitamin content as it's cousin, the wild mallow. The leaves of both mallows are great in salad and cooked in spaghetti and lasagna if short on spinach. We eat them all the time.
Violet leaves also make a mild, healthy addition to salad.

This research into the "weeds" growing here has been the start of an
herb seed business for me. I have been blessed with many herbs growing in the fields. I have an abundance of evening primrose, heal-all, St. John's wort, motherwort, burdock, chicory, yarrow, feverfew, celandine, clover, bladder campion, plantago and many more. Many of these have been transplanted to an "herb" garden or an area where they are protected. Some, such as burdock, are edible in salads and cooking.

So the next time you see something you consider a "weed", look it up and do some research. You might find your next healty salad green growing wild in your garden! Leave it alone and let it spread, transplant it to a better place or pick and add to your salad along with violet and mallow leaves.

11 comments:

Patrice said...

I have a friend who is a park ranger. She has lots of experience with edible weeds. She will pick all kinds of greens from wherever she is standing and just start munching. It's kind of funny!

Granny J said...

I never knew the name of Purslane but have seen it many times. I'll be sure to encourage it to grow instead of pulling it. I often see it at construction sites where the dirt has been scraped clean and work has been started. Thanks for the information.

Ali said...

Wow, I didn't know there were so many good things about weeds. I have a beautiful poinciana tree in my backyard that is a pest in Australia, but last week I received a letter from council telling me to take good care of it because it's protected! Lol, we aren't reading the same literature methinks :)

The Japanese Redneck said...

I have some of that purslane growing all over the place...

Never knew.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

I have it growing everywhere too. This year I am going to start using it!

dilli said...

ewwwwwwww purslane is pretty yukkity as far as the edibles to eat IMHO lol.. while i like knowing that it is edible and has perfectly good uses,its one i dont voluntarily eat unless i just gotta

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

Really? I just assumed that it would be rather bland. Hmmmm...if its strong and not good, then we probably won't eat it. I had hoped that it would be a good salad green :-(

Hima Sagar said...

try this:
chop up pursulane and saute with oil, a pinch of turmeric powder, and coconut flakes.

Lorena Gee! said...

It tastes great and has a slight lemony flavor. I saute to steam in a pan with just a pinch of salt, some pepper, garlic, and butter or grapeseed oil. On a bed of wild rice and a chunk of broiled fish, this succulent and vitamin rich weed is nothing to turn your nose up at. My children, who are 17 and 7, actually like it and asked for more the last time we had it.

Lorena Gee! said...

Purslane is one of the weeds my kids (17 and 7 year old) actually ask for seconds on. A fast way to cook this succulent and slightly lemony treasure, is by roughly chopping and saute to steam in a med temp lightly oiled skillet. For seasoning, simple is better, I use no more than 3 (salt, pepper, garlic) for on top of wild rice/broiled fish.

Providence Acres Farm said...

I have eaten it fresh many times. It has a different flavour in the late afternoon than it does in the early morning - lighter and more lemony. It's crisp and very good in salad!