Labour Day weekend, I worked in the garden, fixing our side of the new retaining wall the neigbours had built this summer. That gave the “weeds” the freedom of a lovely summer as I am not good in heat. Summer has however come to an end.
I will always say, please, pick only what you need and leave enough of any plant so it can recover and so that animals can also find a food source.
Purslane is high in fiber, minerals and vitamins. Surprisingly it is also, for a leafy green vegetable, very high in omega -3 fatty acids, making it an interesting substitute for anyone not regularly eating salmon or taking a supplement.
There is also promising research with regards to type two diabetes and purslane’s effect on certain cancer cells.
It can be added to a fresh salad for a nice crunch or pickled for year round use as a garnish.
Purslane pesto is a quick and easy way to get all the value from fresh purslane. These needed extra washing because someone “helping” had decided I must have missed the garbage can. “You couldn’t possibly have wanted to keep them!” Separate the green leaves and small stems from the larger stems, wash and pat dry. The thicker stems pickle well but for these recipes I used only the tips and smaller stocks.
You will need for option one:
2 1/2 cups purslane
1/2 cup pecans, chopped and roasted
1/2 cup olive oil
juice from half a lemon
1 tsp. honey
sea salt and pepper to taste
Zest the lemon and save for another recipe. Cut in half and juice one half lemon.
Place all the ingredients in a kitchen blender of some fashion and mix until well combined and almost smooth in texture.
This is a clean crisp tasting version, a little tangy.
Option two is a more traditional tasting version wth garlic and parmesan cheese.
You will need for option two:
1 1/2 cups purslane
1 cup parsley
2 sprigs of oregano, 2 – 3 inches long
1 garlic clove
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts
3 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
The added parsley in this recipe creates a slightly greener version than option one.
Pesto can be stored in the fridge for several days or frozen for later use.
Known as sauce for pasta, it is also useful on pizza and as a sandwich spread. Try mixing it into your salad dressings or veggie dips. It works over breakfest eggs and can be added to breads and biscuits as an alternative to garlic bread. I mixed the last of this with some hummous and enjoyed a quick lunch with a few crackers.
So the next time you come across this versatile herb try finding a new home for it in the garden and tweak a few stems over the summer to add to your salads and sandwiches. Your body will be happy you did.