Purslane – grow your own Omega-3

Purslene growing wild

Purslane growing wild along a pavement

It’s amazing that here in Australia purslane (also known as pig weed) is considered a weed. It grows rampant where I live, and I picked my first crop growing along a sidewalk down by a city river.

Being a succulent, purslane seems adapted to growing in most places – particularly where many other plants won’t – like in sidewalk cracks and between pavers. I have to admit that I am guilty of ripping purslane out of paving around my house when I thought it was nothing more than a weed.

Packed full of goodness

But before you do the same, consider what this wonderful little plant contains. Purslane is super-high in healthy Omega-3 essential fatty acid, contains vitamins A, B and C as well as calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium.

Identifying purslane

Close up on purslene

Purslane up close – look for red tinged stems

Purslane is easy to identify because it spreads out like a mat and has red-tinged succulent stems and green leaves. Its small yellow flowers contain capsules of tiny black seeds – almost the size of a grain of sand.

Besides hard-to-grow places, I’ve also found purslane thriving in shady wet grass in a park. I’ve heard you can buy seeds but it’s probably just as easy (depending on where you live) to try and find it growing in the wild.

Propagating purslane

Find a small plant and pull it up roots-and-all or you can propagate it from a cutting. Both worked for me but the cuttings took a little longer to take off. You could even try collecting the tiny seeds but I found plant propagation to be easy.

Eating purslane

Yummy purslene

Yum! Lightly stir fried purslane with tofu, couscous and fresh cucumber from my garden

Purslane is pretty tasty with a slight salty flavour and can be eaten raw in salads or very lightly stir fried. I like to break the leaves off and throw them in an omelette or just munch on them as I wander around my garden.

Convinced? Well just in case you think I’m a bit nutty for eating a weed,  purslane goes way back in Australia as an edible plant.

There are early explorer records of indigenous Australians collecting the plant’s seeds to mix with water and cook in hot ashes. Other countries also love eating purslane in China, Mexico, and Greece plus it’s popping up in food markets throughout Australia.

So why not give it a go?

One Response to Purslane – grow your own Omega-3

  1. [...] fennel, wild olives and wild asparagus. Some of my favourite foraging plants are native spinach and purslene. My brother and his family are also awesome fig foragers (among many other fruits), and I’m [...]

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