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“I learned that a man may use as simple a diet as the animals, and yet retain health and strength. I have made a satisfactory dinner off a dish of purslane which I gathered in my corn field,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in Walden, “men have come to such a pass that they frequently starve, not for want of necessities, but for want of luxuries.” Purslane is native to the Americas where it once was one of the most important wild plant foods of Native Americans. Nowadays, Westerners consider it as an invasive weed. Yet, its mild and nutritious characteristics are valued by many cultures. Look for it at farmers markets or ethnic groceries – or harvest it from your garden. Here and in Mexico purslane is also known as verdolagas. Purslane has a crisp texture and lightly tangy taste plus healthful omega-3 fatty acids. If this weren’t enough, it has above average values of beta-carotene and vitamin C. Both stems and leaves are eaten. Purslane is harvested when young, before the stems turn woody. It is used as an herb for seasoning, as a fresh green to be served in salads (sprigs of purslane are perfect for salads or tucked into sandwiches or tacos). It can be chopped and folded into mayonnaise-based salads such as egg, tuna, or potato. Cooked purslane is delicious too. It can be sauteed or cooked into soups and stews or rice and egg dishes.