Iceplant - Mesymbranthemum crystallinum
This curious, sprawling plant with succulent leaves is in the same family as the Livingstone Daisy. The underside of its leaves and stems are covered with tiny bladders that sparkle in the sun, hence its name. It has a juicy, crunchy texture and a mild, slightly salty flavour.
This fleshy leaved leaf has a mild flavour but adds a real crunch to salads. When it’s small, you can eat the whole thing, including the stems, but as it gets a bit bigger, you’ll need to strip off the individual leaves. Pinch out the shoots and eat them whole to stop it from flowering.
I grew it in a container in the polytunnel last year, then over the winter, I cleared out the compost and put it on this bed where I later planted courgettes. What I didn’t realise was that the purslane had set seed in the compost, so I was rather surprised when it popped up in between the other plants. Purslane doesn’t like full sun so as the courgette leaves have grown bigger, it has formed a shady under storey and the purslane has thrived. Seeing as my lettuce has all bolted in the hot weather, I’m very glad of it.