Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
from the July 17, 2011 Newsletter issued
from written at Mayan Beach
Garden Inn 20 kms north of Mahahual, Quintana Roo, México
Wild Purslane flowers look like yellow buttercup blossoms, except that in the flower's center above the cluster of numerous male stamens the single style is topped by five or six long, slender, upward- and outward-arching, pollen-receiving stigmas, as seen below:
Here's something interesting: Wild Purslane contains the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants of any green leafy vegetable examined to date.
Cooking Wild Purslane is easy. Put a skillet with a little oil in the bottom over a fire and add about a gallon (4 liters) of leaves and stem tips. While being sautéed the leaves and stems lose maybe 80% of their bulk. Once they've cooked down you can eat them as-is or add something to them. I like to stir in two eggs. The end product tastes like eggs and spinach fried together. Onions, garlic, tomato, etc. can be added but I like the way simple, elemental flavors interact.
EATING WILD PURSLANE
When I eat Wild Purslane I develop a mental image of energy erupting from the Sun 93,000,000 miles away, shooting through empty space, and cascading onto Earth. Earth's photosynthesizing plants like Purslane capture the energy, mingle it with nutrients from Earth, water and air, and then make all that magical stuff freely available to other organisms, like me. During this transfer of energy from the Sun to ourselves, and mingling of the Earth's compounds with our own bodies, we various Earthly life forms are drawn into a special kind of community, a community with spiritual dimensions.
In fact, I regard meals such as my Wild Purslane with eggs as constituting nothing less than sacred communions during which I merge with the utterly generous and loving Universal Creative Spirit. Of course, the same feeling can arise from eating a Hostess Twinkie, for in the end a Twinkie's ingredients are natural, too, no matter how they've been processed and packaged by humans.
Still, when I eat wholesome Wild Purslane picked in the fresh air and sunlight and immediately prepared and eaten by myself, somehow the sense of communion is especially convincing and profound.
from the March 11, 2012 Newsletter issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá
Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO
Normally one wouldn't bother to look at such a weather-beaten sprout, but I did, and what caught my eye were those pale little bowl-shaped things nestled among the withering leaves' bases. A close-up is shown below:
There you see the bottoms of some fruit pods, with the central pod holding several black, warty seeds. The tufts of slender items arising from the bottom of each fruit base are placenta-like funiculi which earlier connected the seeds with their ovary walls.
What's interesting about Purslane's fruit pod is that it splits around its equator, not between the fruit's base and tip as with most other fruits. Fruits opening this way are said to be "circumscissile." Once the fruit is mature, the top comes off like a pointed hat, leaving a "bowl" of seeds exactly as the picture shows.
What's the advantage of having a circumscissile fruit that creates a tiny bowl filled with seeds? I'm guessing that it's to facilitate seed dispersal by raindrops. A raindrop hitting inside the bowl would splash seeds in all directions.