Nutritional value of purse lane / pusly? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

Purse lane / pusly (spelling?) has taken over the 25% or so of our garden that never got planted. We know it is edible and have tried it. Does anyone know of it's nutritional value? I don't know what it's proper name is, but I assume some of you would know it by one of those two names. We've got over 1000 sq ft of THICK pusly, so would be glad to know how healthy it is to eat. Thanks!

-- Gus (, August 08, 1999


You have a treasure-trove! Not: good ID photo at second site below.

Some Call It a Weed, Others Have Dubbed It the Belle of the Garden

All crops descend from weeds. But some are a lot closer to their weedy ancestors than others. Among all the crops offered for sale at farmers markets, purslane is about as close to an unadulterated weed as youll get. In fact, most of the farmers who bundle some up and bring it to the markets have never bothered to plant it. One of the most common weeds on farms and in backyard gardens in California [also in many other areas of the country], purslane comes up on its own practically anywhere the fields are left uncultivated.

To the unschooled, the succulent plant that sprawls low to the ground, looking somewhat like watercress but with a purple tint to the stems, can seem noxious. A 19th century writer, Charles Dudley Warner, for one, called purslane "a fat, ground-clinging, spreading, greasy thing, and the most propagatious plant I know."

At Four Sisters Farm, in Aromas, on the other hand, the weed gets royal treatment. "Purslane grows wild in our garden," declares a sign alongside the Four Sister Farms purslane display at Northern California markets from Aptos to Berkeley. "We irrigate it and cultivate it to get it extra thick, succulent, and tasty."

People from various cultures around the world long ago discovered its virtues. Purslane is eaten extensively in soups and salads around the Mediterranean region. Mexicans are major customers for it in California. The Russians dry and can it for the winter. Henry Thoreau would make a meal of boiled purslane gathered around Walden Pond.

Modern nutritional science has turned up a new selling point. Purslane apparently is one of the best sources in the plant world for omega-3 fatty acid, which the body converts into other acids that reportedly may lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

This news was enough to prompt Organic Gardening magazine in 1988 to proclaim the dawn of a purslane renaissance. "This weed has suddenly become the belle of the garden among creative chefs and nutritionists," the magazine reported.

All parts of the plant are edible, writes Pamela Jones, in ``Just Weeds -- History, Myths and Uses. She recommends using it in salads. ``I find that, dressed with oil and vinegar, the juicy mucilaginous leaves and stems add a mildly acid, piquant flavor, she writes.

The Four Sisters flyer stresses purslanes versatility in the kitchen. It can be eaten raw, steamed, stir-fried or pureed. Or purslane "makes a dreamy gazpacho with tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, scallions and a vinaigrette."

P u r s l a n e Portulaca oleracea

Portulaca oleraceais a smooth low growing succulent plant with reddish stems and underside of leaves, alternate leaves. It has small yellow flowers which produce many sand size black seeds. It often grows in gardens and fields as a weed. Make sure that the purslane is well washed of dirt and grit (usually best to wash it in a bowl of water). (Careful often this plant is the target of the herbicide in some agricultural operations.)

One thing that makes this plant special is that the fat it does have contains omega-3 fatty acids, which some research indicates is useful in preventing heart attacks. Have you been scorning the plant that could keep your heart? It has also been used to treat arthritis and inflammation.

"I have made a satisfactory dinner off a dish of Purslane which I gathered and boiled. Yet men have come to such a pass that they frequently starve, not from want of necessaries, but for want of luxuries." - Henry David Thoreau


2 cups chopped purslane

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 bell pepper

2 cups canned or fresh tomatoes

1-4 oz can of sliced mushrooms

Salt to taste

Sprinkle of garlic powder

Soy sauce (optional)

Cook purslane, onion and pepper until tender. Add remaining ingredients and simmer a few minutes. Rice can be added to the mixture if desired and cooked for 20-40 minutes.

Replace the lettuce in any salad with fresh raw p u r s l a n e!

-- Old Git (, August 08, 1999.

Hey,thats some reply. Thanks a bunch.

-- Chris (, August 08, 1999.


My experience is the same as the above descriptions. One thing: as with any non-cultivated plant make 100% sure that you know what it is.

Best wishes:


-- Z1X4Y7 (, August 08, 1999.

Would like to add to "gits" info, that purslane has the highest protein level of any plant...28% as I recall. The protein is similar to the albumen in egg whites; this is the mucillagenous texture. I believe the seeds are nutritous as well. I wish I had more around my place!

-- Sand Mueller (, August 08, 1999.

I was born and raised in Holland, where you can buy Purslane at the Vegetable market. Over there it is called postelijn. I had a friend send me some seeds from Holland, and it now comes up every year. I think it is very tasty, but my American wife does not like it. I noticed that there is a weed that resembles Purslane and it grows flat on the ground. The dutch variety does not lay down but it grows about a foot tall. It goes to seed quite fast and that is why is spreads fast throughout your garden.

-- freddie (, August 08, 1999.

Yes, the seeds are edible. They can be eaten along with the plant, or you can pick the plant and spread it over newspaper for a week or so, then thresh the seeds out.

They can be ground into a dark flour according to Eull Gibbons.

-- Jon Williamson (, August 09, 1999.

Freddie, one of these may be the type you're talking about. I know it's called "French" but in England Italian parsley is known as French and Spanish Lavender is called French too!


You'll have to go to the site and click on those hotlinks. Richters' catalogue is a veritable herb encyclopedia.

-- Old Git (, August 11, 1999.

Seeds4Kidscom HERB ANNUAL PURSLANE PORTULACA OLERAEA I used freeware WebFerret to find seeds for sale at:

Great purslane picture at

Sloooower loading pictures at

-- Dennis Law (, August 13, 1999.

I missed advanced posting this because I didn't know about it until I heard the show this morning. Here's a blurb from Wisconsin Public Radio program guide: "10:00am Jean Feraca Plankton anyone? How about a plate of purslane or pigweed? Peter Gail joins Jean Feraca to teach students and foragers how to feast on the weeds in the backyard on today's edition of ALL ABOUT FOOD. Peter Gail, The Volunteer Vegetable Sampler." The program was very interesting - had I known in advance you could have caught it by going to Anyway acording to this guy not only is purslane tasty and nutritious, it is becoming fashionable and fetching $8.00/lb for suppliers to some areas of California!! One warning, be sure you can differentiate between purslane and the somewhat similar plant called spurge. If in doubt check the sap. Purslane's is clear while Spurge has milky sap. Here's a sample recipe from a prior show that I lifted from the Wisconsin Public Radio site:

Colorful Crisp Dandelion, Ham, and Fruit Salad with Raspberry-Honey Dressing, from Peter Gail's 6th Annual Dandelion Cookoff, aired on May 7, 1999

- 6 c. fresh crisp dandelion leaves, stems removed
- 2 c. cooked ham, cubed
- 1 c. fresh raspberries
- 1 c. seedless red grapes, halved
- 1 kiwi, pared and thinly sliced
- 1 can (11oz.) of mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 c. red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 c. pecan halves, toasted
- 1 c. feta cheese
- 3 T. olive oil
- 2 t. honey
- Breitenbach raspberry wine
- dash of salt
In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients except pecans and Feta cheese; toss. In a separate bowl, mix oil, wine, honey, and salt. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Top salad with pecans and feta cheese. Serves 6

(Hopefully I did that right. If not, I humbly request assistance from the web masters out there. Thanks.) Good Eating jh

-- john hebert (, August 20, 1999.

Purslane is FABULOUS!! Tastes like a cross between spinach and watercress. I've steamed it, sauted it with garlic and pine-nuts, and have used it in salads.

I've gotten a bunch of people hooked on purslane. When I serve it at a dinner party to the uninitiated ... I tell them that it's a vegetable that I've eaten frequently in the south of France and on the Italian Riveria, but not well known in the U.S. That back east, and in Houston (where I moved from), it can be found in very expensive restaurants (true). I tell them how delighted I was to find that it's growing wild on my property (true).

When they ask me what it is, I tell them I don't know the American name ... but in France it's called "Purslee" (pur-sleigh ... phonetic pronounciation for a made-up name).

Anyway - I never have any leftovers!!! Most of the guys have had second helpings.

When I see that most have enjoyed the purslane ... I then tell them the truth. That it's considered a weed in the U.S. (But it is true that it's popular in the Mediterranean regions. And it is true that expensive restaurants with creative chefs serve pur$lane.)

Different cultures like different things. Europeans don't eat corn!!! I had a 3rd cousin from Yugoslavia visiting us. When we served corn-on-the-cob, she looked at us with disgust. Apparently they only serve corn to animals over there.

Anyway, my neighbor (who was V.P. for one of California's largest HMO's, and who used to attend charity balls until she and her husband moved up to Oregon) ... had me walk her thru her property looking for purslane.

Another friend canned a bunch last week. She's experimenting with freezing purslane.

If you have purslane on the property - you're lucky!!! But you gotta control it, otherwise it will take over.

Purslane is VERY healthy. One of the best vegetables for reducing cholesterol and preventing heart attacks. Some kind of amino acid, as I recall.

-- Cheryl (, October 09, 1999.

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