Eat your weeds

You don’t have to forage in public parks anymore for ‘Gourmet Weeds’. Even Union Square market sometimes sells wild edibles, such as Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) a persistent hot weather succulent in summer or the Common Chickweed (Stellaria media), which is one of the first persistent greens after frost. While hot summers kill the delicate Chickweed, a Eurasian import, you will see dense mats again in fall. Chickweed, with heart or drop shaped, hairless leaves is soft as salad; very nutritious, high in vitamins and minerals. It can be kept indoors and even makes a great food supplement mixed chopped with wet food for indoor cats – you won’t need to buy cat grass.
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is a robust naturalized succulent and can be a beneficial companion weed for farmers. With long reddish stalks and paddle shaped leaves, it is no less decorative in a plantbed, than a “hen-and-chicks”. Purslane, native to Africa and Middle East, grows best in direct sun and heat. It’s yellowish blossoms turn into capsules that open up to release plenty of tiny black seeds. Purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant, and also oxalic acid as spinach does, which means, you should not overdo it. While some people even cook the stalks, I use the soft tops as a salad supplement.
I planted both plants in containers as organic companion plants, they are great alternatives when soft lettuce is out of season. Write me if you want some organic seeds…
For the salad, I used both ‘weeds’ to complement some arugula and lettuce. Strawberries add a nice, unexpected flavor.  See recipe here

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