Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pickin' the Purslane

Kris Young recently blogged about growing and eating cactus. I have a lovely cactus plant in a pot that he gave me 2 years ago. It is doing well.
When I took the plant, I thought I would eventually eat the fruit, but I was unprepared for how beautiful the plant is all by itself.
Last weekend, I enjoyed freshly-prepared nopales in Monticito, where the prickly pear cactus grows in large and sprawling groves near the older homes. The nopales dinner reminded me that it is always a good thing to work towards getting and using plants that don't need so much water.
Enter purslane. I didn't know that it was edible until a few years ago. It has become my favorite spring salad plant, hitting the plate after the lettuce, and before the cucumbers. It's a succulent, and, like the prickly pear cactus plant, it is considered not too pretty. I disagree, and I like to think of it as a trailing jade plant.
I pick and nibble on a bit of purslane when I go out to the garden in the morning. I let it go to seed. It is everywhere, and that will be so for years.

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