Skip to main content

A Delicious Weed

One person's weed is another person's salad ingredient
(A bowl of freshly picked Verdolagas/Purslane)

This time of year you'll likely see what looks to be a small succulent spreading out as far as it can reach.  You'll even see it growing from cracks in the sidewalk - and it's name is Purslane (English) - or Verdolagas (Spanish).   

New Verdolagas growth May 28, 2021

For years I pulled and discarded this hardy intruder - until I was introduced to the many culinary uses by local gardener Nickie Irvine.  Having already moved dandelions over to the food/ingredient category, I was surprised to learn of so many culinary uses of this sidewalk dweller.  

When freshly picked or coming out of the refrigerator, Verdolagas has a pleasant crunch.  I like it best raw and added on top of salads - but there are many recipes, particularly in Latin American, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines, that use Verdolagas as an ingredient.  A short list of recipes can be found here.

If you have any interest in local plant foraging,  check out Philip B. Stark on Instagram (@philipbstark).  He's a professor of statistics at UC Berkeley and Principle Investigator for Berkeley Open Source Food ( and frequently posts about edible weeds and #urbanforaging.

Do you incorporate any other "weeds" in your diet?  Please share in the comments or email


Popular posts from this blog

Peaches and more

Yesterday we handed out the sweetest of peaches thanks to a generous donation from Circle Foot Permaculture .   Along with the quarts of peaches, we also provided Samaritan House Food Pharmacy clients a handout with nutritional information on peaches - how they impact your blood sugar - and a recipe for a Roasted Peach Parfait.  Here are links to the handout: Nutritional Spotlight: Peaches (English) Nutritional Spotlight: Peaches (Spanish) It all seems somewhat routine at this point:  gather donations of locally grown produce quickly pull together helpful nutritional information based on the week's donations In retrospect, this is the culmination of 3 years of effort to create a network of local gardeners, foragers and volunteers - with a goal of becoming a reliable source of fresh produce for lower income families struggling with diabetes and other health disorders.    While it has been known for some time that eating fruits & vegetables can positively impact a person's he

The December Garden

Snap Peas (& a garden gnome!) Beresford Park Community Garden December 15, 2021 It's hard to describe just how good the winter gardening is in San Mateo.  While most gardens across the country have long gone into a frosty hibernation - we're, at long last,  getting the rain we've been without for the last 9 months or more.  It's finally time to turn off the irrigation systems and let Mother Nature do her thing.  The new moisture is creating a full-on nutrient soup that flows through our soil, fueling an explosion of activity within the soil food web.   Fungal activity is pushing mushrooms to the surface.  Our favorite spring flowers of nasturtium, poppies, sweat peas, borage and yarrow are in a race to establish their growing territory.  And, thankfully, the newly moist soil makes pulling up oxalis, mallow and bindweed sprouts a bit easier. As you would expect, plants thriving now in the garden were initially planted out in the fall.  Those crowns of cauliflower and

Getting Started: Wine Barrel Planters

Gardening in a small, urban space requires a bit of creativity.  Our challenges are many: buildings & trees frequently block sunlight;  various critters like to snack on new seedlings and just ripe fruits & vegetables; and here in San Mateo, irrigation is a must.  To increase your probability of gardening success, consider adding recycled wine barrels into your urban garden.    Having tried many types of growing containers over the years, the wine barrel has made it to the top of my list.  My galvanized tubs always seemed to need more water than wooden barrels - perhaps due to the different heating/cool properties of the metal vs. wood?  Aesthetically, a recycled barrel looks like it's been there for years - which I love.  And the smell!  There is no comparison. Cost is definitely a consideration.  A wine barrel at Home Depot is $40 whereas a 35 gallon galvanized tub is $55.  You might say that growing in the ground is $0.00 - but in some locations, the extra 18 inches off