Sunday, November 1, 2015

Nature's Housewarming Gift

Just a quick post today, as life has been crazy, crazy busy!

My husband and I bought a house! So excited! But the entire process has completely derailed foraging. . . and social media, and social anything, and basically anything not related directly to buying a home. 

But once it was ours I found a delightful surprise growing all in and around the rock garden:

Purslane!!! This is a favorite of mine, with it's slightly crunchy texture and juicy, green-apple sour flavor. Not sure how I missed it earlier, though I suspect that the owner may have been pulling out "weeds" while he was showing the house. 

I hope it will grow back abundantly. In addition to an interesting flavor and very unique texture, purslane is extremely nutritious. Per cup it has more protein, iron, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin E  than kale, and calorie for calorie, way more potassium than a banana. It's protein and iron are higher than any cultivated veggie, and it has more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant. (source: Wikipedia) 

In the past I've never been able to get much of it, because it tends to grow in two places: people's backyards (and I haven't had one of my own in over a decade) and alongside highways, in parking and vacant lots--places contaminated with exhaust, run-off and other chemical pollutants. So now that I have a source, which in Texas might be available for most of the year, expect to see some recipe experimentation. The Wikipedia page above actually has some great ideas (Greek salad with purslane? Yes please!), so if you have this plant by you, definitely try some fun stuff. Check out my purslane recipe board on Pinterest, for recipes from all over the web. 

Be aware, purslane has a very look-a-like plant, creeping (or spotted) spurge. Once you get to know them, they really aren't very similar at all, but they can be confusing if you look at just pictures--especially pics on the internet. The biggest difference is that spurge has a milky white sap in the stems when you break it, and purslane does not. I'll do a more complete identification in the weeks to come. 

I usually try to keep this blog all business and science, and not personal, but I just have to say how blessed I feel. This year began with difficulties with a new boss that eventually led to me being laid off from a company I worked at nearly 11 years, (and his favorite employee taking my role. . . ahead of 2 others with seniority. . .). Then came 3 months of not even being able to get an interview in the over-saturated Northeast. Money concerns led to marital difficulties . . . Last March my sense of self-worth was lower than I thought it could ever be. I was feeling truly and utterly defeated. 

Since taking the plunge to move to a state with more opportunities, I got a fantastic job at a higher salary with incredible benefits and vacation, all with really amazing and wonderful people to work with. We are able to afford a home of our own here, something which would have been a financial hardship back north. I really can't say anything but "Thank you,  Lord". 

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