The Stowaway in the Organic Spinach

Usually, when we buy a giant container of organic baby spinach (or any size for that matter), we expect to get the spinach that we paid for. That’s not unreasonable, right?

So, I’m minding my business, wilting half of the spinach in a pan of olive oil, butter, and onion from the garden, and I pull out a stem of something that is decidedly NOT spinach.

My first reaction was that that it looked like something I’ve seen before, but it didn’t belong in my spinach and was I already cooking some of it? What was I about to feed us?

I posted this picture on Facebook, and my brother came to the rescue:

Diana Beebe's Blog, Diana Beebe, science fiction, middle grade fantasy, fantasyThis is purslane and it’s edible! My brother gave me this link to an article about it, too. That article is by the University of Illinois Extension. Here’s the cool part:

“With purslane aficionados the preference is in eating fresh young plants, and especially young leaves and tender stem tips. The taste is similar to watercress or spinach. … Purslane can also be cooked as a potherb, steamed, stir-fried or pureed. It tends to get a bit slimy if overcooked. It can be substituted for spinach in many recipes. Seeds are also edible.”

Woohoo! The purslane stowaway was a welcome one.

Just like the article said, it tastes like spinach and watercress. Delicious! We’ll see if I add it to the garden though.

I wouldn’t call myself a forager, but I love knowing what plants are edible (green bean blossoms, for example). Even though I know dandelions are edible, I don’t have plans to add them to my salads. 😉 I just can’t get beyond the weed that it is.

Do you explore different kinds of plants for food? What not-traditionally-cultivated-for-food plants have you eaten?

6 comments on… “The Stowaway in the Organic Spinach”

  1. Hooray for healthy stowaways! I used to work in a flower greenhouse, and there are a lot of blossoms that are edible. Nasturtiums have a peppery taste and yellow tuberous begonia flowers taste like lemon. Don’t eat the fibrous begonias, though. Yech. 🙂


    • Diana Beebe


      I like nasturtiums! We grow them all the time, but no one else will eat them. 😉 I didn’t know about yellow tuberous begonias. Thanks for that tip. But how do I know if they are tuberous and not fibrous?


    • Diana Beebe


      I was glad it was a happy ending, too. I’ve had slimy stowaways before–yuck! So glad you stopped by!

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