Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Bumper Crop, in Front of My House

It's time for a break from politics' 'silly season', and time for a perennial favorite topic of mine... Longtime readers will know that I am partial to purslane (Portulaca oleracea), a succulent weed that looks like a miniature jade plant. Purslane is either loved or hated, and I've been firmly in the 'love it' camp since childhood. Lately, purslane has gained some cachet due to its oddly high omega-3 fatty acid content.

The New York metro area is experiencing perfect purslane weather- hot and dry. Purslane is perfectly adapted to this sort of weather, being able to employ a CAM photosynthetic pathway during dry days, which allows the plants to keep their stomata closed during the heat of the day.

I located several small patches of purslane on the job and made sure to harvest only the tips of the plants, so they will continue to produce their purslicious bounty. Having returned home with this bounty, I found a couple of decent-sized plants right in front of the house, and grabbed them:

A fistful of purslane... not a bad score. While there are recipes for purslane out there, I feel that a simple presentation is the best- the texture of the plant is succulent, a bit crunchy, so I feel it's a shame to cook it. So far, I've mixed it with tahini and lemon juice and eaten it on toasted pita. Tomorrow, it'll be purslane and yogurt, in a tzatziki-like preparation. The plant tends to sprawl all over the place once it gets established, so I'll be eating quite a bit of the stuff in the coming months.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I see them sometimes, but it's usually little flat ones popping out around the sidewalk.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

There's a weed which looks a little like purslane, but is thin and scraggly. You want a nice, succulent looking plant with fat, reddish stems... the seeds do get into the pavement cracks, though, and the plant is super hardy.

Labrys said...

I love purslane! It is delicious cooked into any sort of chile verde, btw!