Gardening with Alli: Eating Weeds

26 Jul

I just seeded some tall green purslane. Rumor has it—rumor being another community garden member—that in New York this particular variety is used as a microgreen and sold for a fair amount of money. Which is pretty funny, really, because I spend a lot of time pulling up it’s cousin, which I know as just purslane, in the garden. It’s a common weed and pops up everywhere. And you know what? The weed form of purslane is also edible.


Oddly enough, purslane is not an exception: there are a number of other very common weeds that are edible, including the little yellow-flowered oxalis and nut sedge. I didn’t know any of these were edible until I came to Smith, but it makes me wonder. How do we choose what plants to cultivate? Why do we baby some greens and pull out others? Shouldn’t we be embracing all of these edibles and taking advantage of them, instead of spending our time fighting them? I don’t know nearly enough to make any big claims, but I have to wonder what the implications could be of eating weeds—what that would mean for the food justice movement, or even just people who want fresh food and don’t have the space or time to garden. Because trust me when I say both oxalis and purslane need no encouragement, and grow wherever they very well please.



Check Out this Purslane Recipe from the folks at Epicurious:


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes (preferably assorted heirloom varieties), halved or quartered if large
  • 6 cups packed tender purslane sprigs and leaves (from a 1-pound bunch)
  • 4 cups packed flat-leaf parsley leaves (from 2 large bunches)


Whisk together oil, lemon juice, shallot, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Add tomatoes, purslane, and parsley, gently tossing to coat.

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