Friday, September 26, 2014

Love Your Purslane

Doreen's presentation on aromatic herbs at our meeting on the 23rd was very informative. She included a demonstration of how she makes herbal vinegars and explained how she uses them and their benefits.

She also told us about the benefits of purslane, yes, the weed that covers our veggie beds. The rest of the world eats it!

The stems, leaves and flower buds are all edible. Purslane may be used fresh as a salad, stir-fried, or cooked as spinach is, and is suitable for soups and stews. Australian Aborigines use the seeds to make seedcakes. Greeks, who call it andrakla , use the leaves and the stems with feta cheese, tomato,onion, garlic, oregano, and olive oil, add it in salads, boil it or add to casseroled chicken. In Turkey, besides being used in salads and in baked pastries, it is cooked as a vegetable similar to spinach. In Albania it is mixed with other ingredients as a filling for dough layers of byrek.

purslane greek salad
Purslane contains more omega 3 than any other leafy vegetable plant. One cup (250 ml) of cooked leaves contains 90 mg of calcium, 561 mg of potassium, and more than 2,000 IUs of vitamin A. It is also very high in antioxidants. Note: because of high oxolates people prone to kidney stones should use with caution.

As a companion plant, Purslane provides ground cover to create a humid microclimate for nearby plants, stabilising ground moisture. Its deep roots bring up moisture and nutrients that those plants can use, and some, including corn, will "follow" purslane roots down through harder soil that they cannot penetrate on their own.

Three books recommends by Doreen: 

The Wild Medicine Solution by Guido Mase
The Medicinal Garden by Ann McIntyre
Reader's Digest Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs

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