Some weeds simply shouldn’t be called weeds. Purslane is one of those. I’ve been know to pull purslane plants from cracks in parking lots, transport them home and try to establish them in the garden. Purslane is extremely nutritious, containing vitamins A, C, E and B, as well as iron, calcium and potasium. Purslane is high in omega 3 fatty acids. There’s just about nothing about this plant that isn’t good.
Raw, purslane can be eaten in salads. It has a slightly sour taste and mucilaginous texture. While living in rural Mexico we learned our absolute favorite way to eat purslane, which our Mexican friends called verdolagas. They cooked it in green hot sauce made with tomatillos and accompanied with a bit of pork (called verdolagas en salsa verde) . This dish is to die for! Of course, one has to eat it with some fresh, hot corn tortillas. One could easily incorporate purslane leaves and stems into salads, soups, stews and stir fries.
Purslane is a succulent. If you look closely, or handle it, you’ll notice that the leaves and stems are juicy and plump. Being a succulent, it is exceedingly hardy, especially to heat and drought. If a gardener should pull up a purslane plant and toss it on a solid surface, out in the sun, where it cannot re-root, it will still produce and shed seed before dying. Also, on account of its heat resistance, I’ve found the most dependable place to find plants is in asphalt parking lots, though, you might not want to eat those. They might be contaminated.
There are quite a few different kinds of purslane. Some are sold as vegetable seed. Others have to be scavenged. All are good. Purslane is a close relative of the portulaca or moss rose, which has beautiful flowers. I’ve never tried to eat one of those!