Monday, October 20, 2008

Can you eat wild portulaca?


The Bay of Fundy offers up a plethora of strange edibles: dulse, goosetongue greens, periwinkles, etc. Sometimes these are things that normal people walk by a zillion times at the beach and just never consider eating. I'm a big fan of 'eating local' so I'm often wondering if there are other seaside culinary delights to invite to the plate.

Take this wild portulaca in my photos, for example. It's a typical sight in our salt marsh fringes. About 10 years ago, I remember taking an interpretive walk with a Mi'kmaw 'medicine woman' (as she called herself) who said just about everything colourful on the beach was edible!

So I'm wondering if any of my readers know: a) the proper name for the plant I'm calling wild portulaca, b) if it is edible, and, if so in what format (steamed?), and c) when best to harvest: these two photos are summer (green) and fall (red). Please feel free to let me know via the comment option. Thanks!

8 comments:

Leanne said...

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/242/ i found this link on that plant...if you scroll down a bit, there's even a recipe or two for it...

ww said...

The red one looks like glasswort. I'm not an expert though. Re edible (wild) plants - have you read "stalking the wild asparagus" by Euell Gibbons? It's a classic.

Anonymous said...

This plant looks like Purslane, Portulaca oleracea. "Medicinal and Other Uses of North American Plants, A Historical Survey with Special Reference to the Eastern Indian Tribes" has an extensive citation of its uses since 6000 BC.
Or any Wild Edible Plant book should have it listed.
These books will describe how to cook it.

Terri said...

mmmm thanks for the advice. I'm totally the kind of person who should have a wild edible plant book!

Joseph's nursery said...

I have never seen wild portulaca before. Is there any flowers for this plant? Leanne has found recipes for this wild plant. Thanks for sharing. Care to visit my blog too. PJ Nursery

seasprite27 said...

I tried the plant raw, when it was still green, as an addition to salad - not very exciting but it might be full of good vitamins.... When it turns red in fall it becomes quite bitter and inedible.
Ruth from Truro NS

Jessica Doyle said...

Periwinkles! Yum!

I've got another and I think it's called sour krout? or crout perhaps? It's a plant with sour tasting leaves. I remember as a kid picking and eating it and still do to this day. It tends to grow in fields close to shore in and around Saint John.

I've never eaten portulaca but it looks like it would would be tasty steamed and eaten on a bed of rice or eaten raw in salad.

Terri said...

hmmm well sour crout is made by marinating cabbage leaves for a huge amount of time...but perhaps it's something else. sounds neat...I love all this weird stuff from nature!