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Edible weeds- Purslane

Updated on May 9, 2012


If you are serious about eating cheap and healthy then it is time to learn about the food that is all around you and will not cost you a single penny.

You will need to invest some time in harvesting it and before you harvest you will need to educate yourself about what you are planning to eat.

After all it is not wise to step out into your backyard or an abandoned lot and simply pick yourself a salad or something for a stir fry unless you know what you are picking.

Some of the plants we call weeds provide a cornucopia of nutrition and flavour and for the most part they are out there waiting to be harvested.

Plant identification is vital here, you really must know what you are about to put in your mouth. A good field guide that details edible wild plants is important. Do your homework before eating anything.

The second thing is know the site where you are about to harvest. If it is your yard and you do not use any chemicals on the site then pick and wash, unless you live in a heavily industrial area or have next door neighbours who spray.

Abandoned lots are often full of weeds and some will be edible but what was there before the lot was abandoned?

One of the more common edible plants that is likely to be in your lawn is Purslane (Portulaca oleracea). Purslane likes to pop up in cultivated fields in cultivated soils throughout Canada and the United States.

In the summer you will have little difficulty in finding a steady supply, if your urban hunting grounds are gardens, flower beds and even planters.

Or if you are venturing out in the country for a walk then keep your eyes open.

Purslane will stand out as its thick red stalks will be laying on the ground; the noticeable stalks and the fleshy, small leaves will remind you of a succulent but Purslane is a hardy annual that produces seeds prolifically.

The tender tips are what you are after, harvest them, They can measure anywhere from one to eight inches.

Purslane can be sautéed in butter with mushrooms, for example or you can add it to salads or soups.

Purslane is a great place to begin your wild food adventure or if you are already on that path and are familiar with other readily available foods such as lambs quarters and dandelions, purslane will make an excellent addition to your menu.

purslane salad


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  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    This is a good source on lambs quarters.

  • profile image

    William H Dorrington 7 years ago

    I need info on lambs quarters are there more than one edible species

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    This is fiddlehead season here - they are good in a stir fry, thanks for dropping by.

  • C.Ferreira profile image

    C.Ferreira 8 years ago from Rutland, VT

    Thanks for the tips...I recently was introduced to fiddle heads as a source of free food! I tried them out, and they aren't bad at all. Kind of like asparagus.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    I'll see what I can do, thanks for dropping by.

  • Lady Guinevere profile image

    Debra Allen 8 years ago from West By God

    Nice! Hey can you do a hub on Mushrooms with pictures. I have many mushrooms of about 3 varieties here. They grow in my gardens, around them and in the flower pots! Never have I seen so many like this here!