The rain has revived the garden, and all the self sown plants are going crazy, rocket, mustard greens rapini and purslane to name the quick starters. Purslane is mostly in 'western' cultures looked at as a weed, as you could guess by one of its common names "pig-weed". However in Europe, Mexico and Asian countries it is grown as both vegetable and edible medicine and I have also seen a reference to Australian Aboriginal people making the seeds into seed-cakes.
There are numerous species and it is easy to grow, in fact if you have it you certainly will not need to plant seeds. Purslane will grow in any soil, the current foraging movement in the cities find it growing in cracks in the pavement, but I like to have it in my garden beds - but it does need constant attention to stop it taking over the whole garden. If you have it in your garden then eat it, it one of the most healthy plants around having probably the highest Omega 3 contents of any plant, an essential fatty acid normally only found in quantity such as this in fish, as well as other fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E and some B plus minerals, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron.
The whole plant can be eaten, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds but usually it is best as the plants get older just to pick the 3 to 5 cm. Eat as is, in salads or on sandwiches, use as you would spinach, use in stirfries, and is also good as a thickener in soups. One of my favourites is my version of a Weed Pie, use the recipe for a standard fetta and spinach pie but substitute Purslane, dandelion, wild rocket, mustard greens for the spinach.
Max Dingle 1 March 2014