God’s Powerful Gift of Purslane
I’m discovering the health benefits of the weed my Dad used to love to hate with passion. He grew up in South Saskatchewan, where he had not run into this little plant with the energetic runners and more and more of those oval rubbery leaves. When he married Mom and settled in the Chortitz/ Hague area, Dad fought to weed this busy weed out of the gardens, and it kept reappearing. Mom just laughed when Dad vowed to get totally RID of this weed!
One day he decided to count the tiny black seeds in the pods after the wee yellow flowers had bloomed. He spread a white handkerchief on the table and carefully poured the seeds out of the wee little pod. Then he set about counting them; there were over 100!
He also observed that when he hacked them off with the hoe, each piece seemed to sprout a root and send it down into the ground in mere moments. I’ve heard him rant against “fatte hahn” (fat hen) as he called the weed so many times that I’ve sort of picked up his aversion to it. He stopped weeding it and always carefully pulled up each plant root and all, in the hopes of eradicating it. He never won.
HOWEVER! My garden is absolutely full of this plant this summer! It fills all the gaps between the vegetables and flowers, and if any of the seeds I sowed have been slow in coming up, the purslane has already crowed in and claimed that space.
[They say that if weeds like to grow in your garden it means you have great soil; that’s positive thought!]
I spent two weeks weeding the front flowerbeds, but there it was mostly grasses and young tree sprouts. Like Dad, I don’t just chop at the weeds with a hoe, I sit on a stool and carefully pluck each one up, roots n’ all, and put it in a bucket or the garbage bin lined with a huge bag. I have no purslane to speak of in the front, but my sunny garden is carpeted to a depth of 3-4 inches of this purslane with the shiny green leaves – and a few other weeds.
Last week I started with these stool sessions, carefully pulling up the weeks. But… because I remember reading that purlsane is very full of nutrients I’ve looked it up and decided to harvest a considerable amount instead of throwing it out. So I keep one bucket near me for the purslane and another one for the other weeds. I got my first bucket full on Saturday evening, and another one last night.
Because I’m ready to sit and do ‘business work’ when I come in I just rinsed them a time or two, then left them sitting in a bucket in the sink.
From the first bucket full I cut and picked off the leaves and put them into a small pot, added water and boiled them. So Sunday evening I had a tall mug of purslane tea. It tasted like strange green stuff, so I added honey, and a splash of lemon juice. I managed to drink it but I have not yet acquired a taste for it. I did wonder as I went to bed whether I would notice any physical benefits.
Well. Yesterday I had more stamina and energy. I did not need an afternoon nap. My bowels had been in a hurry to empty after every meal or drink of water or coffee, etc., but yesterday my bowel was quiet and restful. By the time I went to bed I began to ask myself whether all this could be attributed to the purslane tea? Maybe I better learn to like it!
I went out this morning to take photos for your benefit, and I’ve been researching online and discover that this plant is known by many names in many different countries around the world. That reminds me of what I read by Jethro Kloss in his book, “Back to Eden.” He wrote that God has put medicinal plants in our neighbourhood for our particular ailments in that area. The problem is that we walk over them, or curse them as weeds and don’t recognize them for the gift of God they are for our healing.
Hmm!! God must really think I need lots of purslane!
I’ve come to the point where I’m willing to harvest and bring into my kitchen this herb/weed/food known as purslane. I’ll put off Dad’s hate for ‘fatte hahn’ like a dirty old garden sweater, and try to be more open-minded.
Not all the recipes I’ve seen appeal to me, but I’ll try this and that and see if I continue to benefit. Like,.. I have some buttermilk to use up, so I was planning to make pancakes or waffles today. Maybe I can chop up a few leaves (really fine) and toss them into the batter.
I’m already drying some so I can make teas in the winter. That may be the easiest way, or I’ll have to give up large chunks of my business hours to deal with this harvest. Never mind the veggies I expect to get from the garden. It will probably take me two weeks to weed the garden at this pace. Then there are those 3 foot high weeds beside the tent garage! Yikes! I’ve got work cut out for me.
A few notes from my online research:
As a vegetable purslane can be eaten raw and cooked, in salads, juices, sandwiches, dips, pesto, stir fries, quiches, soups, curries, stews, sauces and more.
The little black seeds can be used as a tea and can be eaten too. They taste a bit like linseed/flaxseed. Indigenous Australians used to use the seeds of purslane to make flour for seed cakes. In dry parts of Australia each plant can yield 10,000 seeds.
Purslane has more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable.
Purslane has seven times more beta carotene than carrots.
Purslane is an excellent source of Vitamin A (44% of RDA) – one of the highest among leafy greens.