Thursday, February 25, 2016

Make a friend of a weed Purslane

Everyone seems to be talking about the Paleo Diet.  They are even sharing Paleo Diet jokes:

"I'm on the Paleo Diet, it is just that I'm the caveman who
 discovered Snickers Bars"

"How do you know if someone east Paleo? Don't worry they will tell you."
Warrigal greens (top) and cooked purslane

One thing you do learn from Paleo Diet is that where man once ate Omega 3 fatty acids in a ratio of 1:1 with Omega 6 fatty acids, the ratio is now something like 1:40.  That's a lot of Omega 6 at the expense of Omega 3.

Okay, so where do you get Omega 3s so you can balance your diet?  A weed, which is probably growing in your backyard, or within walking distance of your home, contains more Omega 3 fatty acids than any other known plant in the universe.  The weed is called purslane.

Huge patch of purslane found at Albury airport

For those in Sydney, purslane can be found on a handy wild food map.  I used the map to locate purslane in Bella Vista.

At Bella Vista purslane was happily growing in red chip bark.

While the stems are edible I choose to simply strip the leaves. I steep these in boiling water for three minutes before rinsing with cold water. Drain water before serving. By steeping them you remove excessive oxalic acid. I then serve them with a stir fry giving those at the table the option to sprinkle some of the purslane over there stir fry.   Pick purslane after noon as the plant generates an acid - malic acid - overnight to help kickstart the photosynthesis process in the morning.  By noon the malic acid is used up.  Malic acid gives a sour taste.  If you have ever eaten sour lollies, like sour worms, then you've had malic acid.

Immediately near this location is the Woolworths Headquarters. Picking purslane from outside their office puts a new meaning to their marketing tagline "Fresh food people".

When picking weeds ensure that the weed:

1. Has not been sprayed with weed killer.
2. Is not subject to people or animal traffic of faecas.
3. Is free of any insect invasion.

There are a list of nutritional benefits of purslane listed on this link.  Purslane has been used in treating Multiple Sclerosis.


P.S. there is one Sydney greengrocer that sells purslane.  Chooks love purslane and the Omega 3 passes through to their eggs.  I has been observed that chooks let loose on a new paddock will flock to purslane before any other food.  I've received fantastic feedback on this post including an understanding that Purslane is available in Cabramatta markets and that Chinese people consume it both for its digestive benefits and in addition as a medicine.

All links up-to-date at 25 February 2016

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