Foraging for Good Eden: Purslane
Updated: Jan 13, 2021
Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “purslane contains the highest content of vitamin A among green leafy vegetables. It also contains vitamin C and B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, and pyridoxine. [Purslane] provides highest dietary minerals such as potassium, followed by magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron.” Leafy greens store sugar to use as energy throughout the night while the sun is not shining. By the morning, this energy is used up, resulting in a tart green. So, if you want a more tart green then pick them in the morning. For a less tart green (because of the stored sugars) then pick as the sun is setting. When eating purslane in a fresh salad, I pick the green petals young, when they're light green. When fermenting, I choose the hardier sections, they hold up better.
I usually pick my greens when the sugar content is the highest. However, I like to pick purslane in the morning, it looks more vibrant to my eyes in that light. Purslane has a gelatinous consistency, similar to okra. Because of this, I choose to ferment the purslane with a combination of fresh garlic, onion, jalapeno seed, coarse sea salt, and a fusion of simple syrup made from fresh sugar cane and apple cider vinegar. I keep this refrigerated at all times.
Beyond the tasty plate, purslane is also medicinal. As a world wide weed, purslane is used as a laxative and its gelatinous substance is used topically to repair damaged skin as well as to soften it. Purslane is brewed into a drinkable tea for the heart and to relax the muscles. Its also used in anti-inflammatory and diuretic treatments.
Purslane is high in potassium (494 mg/100 g). Potassium has beneficial effects on blood pressure. The NIH also states “purslane contains the highest content of vitamin A among green leafy vegetables. It also contains vitamin C and B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, and pyridoxine [aids production of red blood cells and proper nerve function]...". Purslane is an easily grown "super-food" without industrial constraints, now that's Good Eden.