Purslane is a weed related to succulents that thrives in heat. (File photo)

Purslane is a weed related to succulents that thrives in heat. (File photo)

A Gardener’s Diary: Skip the weed killer, eat this one

Gardener Jocelyne Sewell looks at the purslane weed growing rampant in this heat

I have been gardening for over 40 years and have never seen such a dry summer with so many plants scorched by the sun and the heat of the past weeks.

October is often the month we put our garden to bed but this year I am a bit early, working at it in July.

But some vegetables are doing very well – like the watermelons, eggplants and peppers. The tomatoes are coming back to life after some of the tops drying. We had tomatoes for the last week along with cucumbers, zucchinis and peppers.

Some of the fruits, like black and red currants and gooseberries, got baked on the bush.

The cherries were very nice and being under the Kootenay cover even with all the heat, kept on ripening slowly and I was still picking as of the last few days.

Now, there is a weed related to succulents called purslane (Portulaca oleracea). This plant thrives in the heat and now is growing all over my garden.

I used it in egg salad, added it to green salads for a crunch, made a batch of soup (very tasty) and I munch on it straight out of the garden.

Nestled in these small glossy leaves is a formidable amount of nutritional punch.

Purslane contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than many types of fish.

I repeat: purslane contains more Omega-3s than many fish, and more than any other vegetable, making it a wonderful addition to your diet.

This surprising little vegetable is rich in vitamins – most notably vitamin A, in addition to vitamin C and B.

But what does it taste like? Purslane has a slightly lemony flavour and is almost a bit salty, making it a satisfying vegetable eaten both raw and cooked.

It’s got a slightly sour tang, and its texture is like a crunchy-juicy spinach leaf (versus a grassy, dry kale leaf).

Add it to a salad, throw it in a stew or stir fry, or simply wilt it along with a bit of garlic.

Use it as a summery replacement for spinach in a quiche or a sub for parsley in a raw salad.

Check out https://www.foodstoragemoms.com/can-i-eat-purslane/.

This website will give you some recipes-using-purslane, and more information related to other edible weeds that many times should go in your plate instead of the compost.

Make sure this is the edible weeds and not a look-alike.

The following recipes are adapted from the book, The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival, by Katrina Blair.

Pickled Purslane: 3-4 cups purslane, three cups apple cider vinegar, three cloves garlic, one tbsp peppercorns, one tbsp honey, one tbsp salt and one cup water.

Chop purslane lightly.

You don’t need to dice it finely – larger chunks are fine. Place purslane in a quart jar and add all other ingredients.

Stir gently until well combined.

Add enough water to cover all ingredients. Secure on the lid.

Store at room temperature for one week and then move to the refrigerator for long term storage.

Use as a side garnish to add a sour pickle-like flavour!

Don’t reach for the weed killer spray.

Want to get rid of your weeds the best way? Eat them.

Purslane can reproduce by both seed and stem fragments.

A single plant can produce as many as 240,000 seeds in a single year and those seeds can be viable for up to 40 years.

Contact gardening columnist Jocelyne Sewell at 250-558-4556 or email jocelynesewell@gmail.com.