Monday, December 27, 2010
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.
Posted by Sheryl at Providence Acres at 7:25 AM