Some weeds simply shouldn’t be called weeds and purslane is one of those. I’ve been know to pull these 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. It’s also high in omega 3 fatty acids. There’s just about nothing about this plant that isn’t good.
Some eat purslane raw in salads. It has a slightly sour taste and mucilaginous texture. While living in rural Mexico we learned to eat purslane in a dish which our Mexican friends called verdolagas. They cooked it in green hot sauce made with tomatillos and accompanied with a bit of pork (called carne de puerco y verdolagas en salsa verde). This dish is to die for! Of course fresh, hot corn tortillas are a must with this dish. One could easily incorporate purslane leaves and stems into salads, soups, stews and stir fries.
Verdolagas en Salsa Verde by Adán Medrano (in English)
Purslane is a succulent. If you look closely, or handle it, you’ll notice that the leaves and stems are juicy and plump. 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 on account of possible contamination.
There are quite a few different kinds of purslane. Some seed companies sell seed. Others varieties are 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!