Saving Purslane Seed

In the last 3 years, Golden Purslane has become an on farm favorite salad green. It has a juicy refreshing taste with a sour edge that livens up a salad.

Last year we also grew a seed crop.

1 Purslane

Golden Purslane produces small yellow flowers that only last a short time. (I have yet to catch them in picture.) They then form a small green fruit in the center of the leaves. After a bit you can peel off the cap of this fruit to find some small black seed.

I was told that this is the perfect time to pull purslane plants for seed. So we did.

2 Harvesting Purslane

We cut the whole plants and packed them into bins to bring them back to the  barn.

3 Purslane bins

The succulent plants were still juicy and delicious at this point.

4 Post Harvest Purslane

We spread the plants out in a single layer on a tarp and added a few fans for ventilation.

5 Purslane Seeds Maturing

Over the next month the fruit dried up and opened to reveal thousands of small shiny black seeds.

6 Purslane Wilting

The plants stayed succulent for quite a while. After 4-5 weeks the stems started to shrivel. Around that time most of the fruit had opened.

7 Purslane Bits

We took the plants outside and shook them over a big tarp. The seed easily shattered. We tossed the green plants aside and collected the dried chaff and seeds.

8 Screening Purslane Seeds

At this point we proceeded as normal to clean the seed with screens and fans. These plants were full of seed! (Such as we did with this Brassica seed.)

Thanks to Frank Morton and Tom Stearns who told me I should pull these plants. They were right.

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4 responses to “Saving Purslane Seed

  1. Very cool! I love eating purslane in salad.
    Would these have self-sown and taken over that bed if you’d not cut the whole plant?

  2. They probably would have self seeded. We would have had to do a little weeding if we hadn’t harvested them!

  3. Very interesting! Reminiscent of my efforts at saving seeds from Claytonia perfoliata, which is also very ‘succulent’ and somewhat ‘tricky’ as to when to pull the plants to optimize yield as well as seed vigour. Also, this post underscores the need to have plenty of infrastructure in the form of barns, sheds, greenhouses….carports!…whatever. Accumulating seed crops can take up a lot of space, especially when they need to be laid out in single layers. Alas, one day I will build myself a freakin’ aircraft hangar! Thanks for sharing, Dan.

  4. I often harvest purslane for smoothies. They are one of the nutritional superfoods of the plant world.

    The seeds collect at the bottom of the bowl when I wash the plants. So if you want to collect seeds and eat the plants too, that’s one way to do it. Granted, you’ll eat a lot of seeds, but who can pass up these delicious plants!

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