Friday, 31 August 2012


As I was sharing my discoveries about Red Root to a friend (this time from Barbados), she pointed out another common root that is also edible.  I swear, more than anything, multiculturalism has benefited my diet this year.  If I wanted to learn about edible weeds growing all around me & how to cook them I'd probably have to pay for a book or a class.

Well boys and girls, today's lesson is about a common weed that is eaten in not just Barbados, but in India, Mexico & the Mediterranean as well and from what I've read is extremely rich in omega 3 fatty acids which is something that every vegetarian & vegan should take note of.

PURSLANE, also known as
  • Pursley
  • Pusley
  • Portulaca &
  • Little hogweed prefers warm dry weather but grows just about everywhere.
They say that just about everyone has it on their property and that it tolerates just about every kind of soil.  If you can't see it then it's probably just dormant.  Purslane seeds require sunlight to germinate.  Cultivate the soil as underground seeds have been known to live for up to forty years underground and it's probable that it will germinate & grow.

I slightly steamed & somewhat sautéed it.  I don't like to fully cook my greens as they say that it keeps the vitamins better this way.
Unfortunately I got the very last of it as it is the end of the season for Purslane.  It comes out a lot in the spring.  I did get a bit of flavor and a whole lot of crunch.  It had a lovely nutty feel.

I've also been told that it's good raw in salads.

I've googled info on Purslane if you're interested...

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Red Root


A friend offered me cooked leafy greens I thought was spinach. Much to my surprise it wasn't spinach at all. She called it Red Root, a weed that is more thought of in the west as a problem for gardeners & livestock owners. I'd never heard of it before and overlooked it as just another inedible weed growing on dunghills. I am also told that Red Root is expensive especially in the big cities. Expensive & free... I couldn't resist.

Here it is on a dung heap.

First I washed & steamed it. Oh, the aroma that it gave when I lifted the lid was wonderful.
(Oh and incase you're wondering, that light colored twig looking thing is, its Japanese Knotweed.)

Then  sautéed it with other vegetables...

 then wrapped it in a chapati.

It cooks just like spinach and tastes delicious. 

I will start blanching it for the winter.  It's worth it.

I couldn't help but to google it to see what it's medicinal benefits are. (As all things in nature possess.)

"Red Root herb grows in temperate climates and makes a great tea, in fact during wartime it was used as a tea substitute. Plus it can be taken as tincture and also in capsules and it works great for asthma, bronchiole diseases, and coughs too. The root is very astringent making it a good mouthwash for oral ulcers. Also works well for improving lymphatic circulation and thus helps with edema… and problems related to the spleen and liver… and now Red Root has been used for the treatment of prostate enlargement. Red Root also works well for internal bleeding and also healing skin lesions. Plus Red Root is a good antispasmodic and also helps relax and sooth away tension, and it’s a good antiviral and antibacterial agent, and Red Root is a powerful antioxidant."

"Adenoid Enlargement, Asthma, Bronchitis, Cough, Cysts, Diarrhea, Dysentery, Dysmenorrhea, Epstein-barr Virus, Fatigue, Fever, Headache, Hemorrhoids, Hepatitis, Hodgkin's Disease, Lymphatic Congestion, Mononucleosis, Nosebleeds, Sore Throat, Spleen Enlargement, Testicular Hydrocele, Tick Fever, Tonsillitis, Tumors"