Updated: Jun 16, 2021
If you are looking for a power-packed food that is absolutely free for the taking, just take a look in your backyard. Purslane may be just the answer for you. This plant tops the list of plants high in vitamin E and an essential omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Did you know that Purslane provides six times more vitamin E than spinach and seven times more beta carotene than carrots and 15 times more ALA than iceberg lettuce? So what are you waiting for, go find some Purslane and start eating it!
Considered by most to be a pesky weed, this succulent herb contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other plant. Purslane is a creeping, sun-loving plant that has paddle-shaped leaves with reddish stems. The flowers are tiny and pale yellow with 5 petals.
Parts Used: Stems, leaves and seeds.
Stems and Leaves: Purslane is an incredible source of protein, vitamin E, vitamin C, and the best source of Omega 3 fatty acids of any leafy plant. Its flavor is a mix of cucumber and okra. Its texture is crunchy on the outside but has a strong mucilaginous effect inside rather like flax seeds. The thick jade-like leaves and pink stems look pretty in any dish. An easy way to add it to your diet is to just toss a few raw, washed leaves into your salad. It can also be stir-fried or added to soups, stews, and sauces. Additionally, the tender fat stems may be pickled in apple cider vinegar with garlic and peppercorns.
Seeds: The tiny black seeds are about the size of grains of salt. If you look very carefully, you may be able to find them pouring out of tiny seed heads. Purslane seeds may be used in place of poppy seeds, added to cereals, ground into flour and used with whole grain flours.
TIPS FOR HARVESTING:
Purslane sometimes may have a tangy taste, especially when the weather has been dry; it contains malic acid, the component that makes apples sour. It forms the acid overnight and metabolizes it throughout the day, so plants picked in the morning are tangy, while by late afternoon they are bland.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.