Eating Weeds

NO RAIN + EXCESSIVE HEAT = A FORLORN AND PITIFUL GARDEN

We are about ready to chuck it in and quite watering our garden.  We have gotten not even one handful of tomatoes and the cucumbers that we have found are bitter.  The peppers are the only thing that seem edible.

On a brighter note, the sunflowers, zinnias and okra seemed to be doing okay.

I was anxiously awaiting to make lots of roasted tomato sauce, bruschetta, dried tomatoes, BLTs, etc.  Alas, it is not to be this summer.  (I have high hopes for fall tomatoes if we ever get rain again!)

The tomato pity party is over so let me get on with this post regarding edible weeds.

Last June we visited the farmers market in Dixon, NM.   It was so early in their growing season that there were only a few things to be had:  strawberries, garlic, and onions.  (I did nabbed some strawberries and created a Gelato with New Mexico Strawberries.)   At one stall,  I was surprised to find the gnarled old vendor selling a weed that I had growing in my garden back home.  I believe he called it “Pulsey.”   We conversed with him and he told us it was good in beans but that is about all the information he had for us.  I didn’t purchase any.  Why would I?  It was a weed.

Until this summer, I have never even thought of experimenting with Purslane’s culinary attributes.  But, since it one of the few plants that is thriving, I thought I would give it a shot.

Common Purslane (Portulaca oleraceae) is prolific in North America (and in my garden) but is also evident in Mediterranean and Indian cooking.    From my quick research, I would deem  purslane  the new super food.  It is super, duper rich in Omega-3s,  vitamin E,  and antioxidants.

Just a bit of the purslane growing around the garden.

Besides “Pulsey” as our farmers’ market friend called it, it can also be known as hogweed which I distinctly remember my grandfather cussing on his farm.   I wonder if he is looking down on me now wondering what the heck I am cooking (and he is probably extremely glad that he won’t be at our table tonight eating “hogweed.”)  🙂

I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but I think the rabbits must love this too because it is shorn short in the center.

Harvested and ready.

 

Grilled Zucchini Salad and Pasta Salad with Purslane

2 zucchini (1 3/4 to 2 lb total), halved lengthwise
1 c. dried pasta
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing zucchini
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley1 1/2 c.  purslane, thick stems removed
5 oz. cherry tomatoes (pear and cherry heirloom varieties will add great color.)

Preheat or prepare grill and put water on to boil for pasta.

Lightly brush zucchini all over with oil. When fire is hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 1 to 2 seconds), grill zucchini, cut sides down first, on lightly oiled grill rack, uncovered, turning once, until zucchini are just tender, 8 to 12 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and cool slightly, then cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Prepare pasta according to directions.

Whisk together zest, lemon juice, shallot, mustard, and salt in a small bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until dressing is emulsified. Whisk in pepper and parsley.

Drain pasta.  Toss zucchini and pasta with purslane, tomatoes, and dressing in a large bowl.  Serve immediately.

I based this recipe on Grilled Zucchini Salad with Purslane and Tomato from Epicurious.  Purslane and Parsley Salad is another recipe I want to try soon.

I got a lot of my other information from the following sites:

Prairieland Community Supported Agriculture

Culinary Musings

And for some more great purslane recipe ideas, go to Aggie Horticulture.

For another great salad and a HILARIOUS video, check out Peasant Feast’s  post regarding foraging.

 

NOTE:  Since I drafted this post, we have had some glorious rain!   The temperatures have been under 100 for a week.  I have high hopes that the tomatoes will come out of it and we will have some fall production.  That being said, I think I will now look forward to finding purslane every season!

4 comments to Eating Weeds

  • Eliot

    I had even more purslane growing after we made it home from the lake. I will have to post some purslane food pics soon. Lord knows I have enough to have some at every meal!

  • We have been having alot of rainy days lately; not sure if its too late to help.
    I have never heard of purslane; thanks for the education 🙂

  • Thanks so much for the mention. I loved that your farmer’s market actually sells it as “pulsey”! My little girls eats it fresh out of the yard to freak her friends out. Good luck with your tomatoes. Last year, I had some but they were all VERY green. It got cold too quickly.

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