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Eat your weeds! or When Life gives you purslane, make soup!

We should all try to eat locally. New Hampshire is awash in fresh vegetables this time of year and I hope you are enjoying local lettuce, kale, zucchini, snap peas, and all of the other abundant greens, but did you know there is food right in your backyard you can harvest for free? I’m talking about weeds!

I always identify plants using this pocket-size guide before eating, cooking, or using them for medicines.

Yes, lots of weeds are edible and some of them are even nutritious and delicious. My favorite – and the topic of this post – is purslane. Purslane grows everywhere. It is a dense understory weed with beautiful full leaves that look a bit like aloe leaves. It stays low to the ground and is actually quite attractive as a ground cover. You may have noticed it in your garden.

Purslane is not just edible, it is highly nutritious. It is high in Vitamins A,C, magnesium, and even iron. It is also pretty tasty in salads and soups. I like to make cold purslane cucumber soup, which is a great treat on a hot day. Think of it as an early summer gazpacho.

Here is the recipe:

Blend in a food processor or blender:

  1. 3 cucumbers

  2. 1/2 onion

  3. 3 cloves of garlic (or a handful of scapes, this time of year)

  4. 1 cup purslane leaves and tips

  5. 1 cup yogurt or coconut milk

  6. a splash of balsamic vinegar or wine

  7. 2 tablespoons olive oil

  8. Salt and pepper to taste

Serve cold with homemade bread and a purslane salad. 🙂

Cold purslane soup with purslane salad. Yum!

– Hannah

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