Weed is a subjective term

Not a weed

Not a weed

Here’s our lovely food pantry plot at the Nichols Ave. Community Garden. Officially, we are growing basil, beans, tomatoes, japaleno peppers, and oregano. Unofficially, but very providentially, we are growing purslane. It’s in this photo — It looks like a weed, and to most American gardeners, it is treated like a weed. Pulled out as fast as you can say, “Get away from my precious tomatoes!”

But it turns out the purslane, which “volunteered” its way into our plot, has a long and noble history as a delicious edible. I just finished a book (great book, by the way) of historical fiction, in which Henry VIII and his court are munching on purslane all the time. Folks in Haiti and lots of other countries today enjoy it on a regular basis. Tasty and delicious, and good for you, too (as Sal Paradise says of his apple pie, in “On the Road”). Read more about purslane here.

Here’s a recipe for purslane, which my fellow gardener Carol found. There are other good recipes out there. Think again about what you toss from your garden. As with our own lives, that which we perceive as a nuisance, a mistake, or a blot often turns out to be gift and grace. Happy munching.

Purslane Basil Pesto

4 c. purslane
2 c. fresh basil
1 c. roasted pine nuts
0.5 c, olive oil
8 garlic cloves
0.5 t. kosher salt
0.5 t. honey
0.25 t. fresh ground pepper

Place everything in food processor and pulse till smooth. Enjoy!


About amymccreath

I'm a pastor and mother who loves to make connections between people, between ideas, and between stuff we label "sacred" and "secular." I aspire to be like a Cedar of Lebanon in the midst of the changes and chances of life, but like most folks, generally find that I can really only navigate the tumult hand in hand with others. Good coffee helps, too.
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