Produce Recipes: Purslane


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History:
Think of it as a weed, and you'll be missing out on one of the most nutritious greens on the planet. Purslane has more beta-carotene than spinach*, as well as high levels of magnesium and potassium. Historically it has been used as a remedy for arthritis and inflammation by European cultures. Chinese herbalists found similar benefits, using it in respiratory and circulatory function. Recently, it's been found that purslane has alpha linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. Researchers see evidence that these substances lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as make the blood less likely to form clots. And, purslane has only 15 calories per 100 g portion.

World wide there are approximately 19 genera and approximately 500 species of purslane. The U.S. is home to 9 genera alone. It is most commonly found in the warm temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Purslane exhibits the most species diversity in Western North America and South Africa, where it is likely to have originated. Part of the reason for its evolutionary success is that a single plant can produce up to 52,300 seeds. What's more, purslane seeds can survive for up to 30 years in undisturbed soil. Several ancient cultures have included purslane as a part of their cuisine, including those of Greece and Central America. Russians dry and can it for the winter. In Mexico it is called verdolaga and is a favorite comfort food. There, it is eaten in omelets, as a side dish, rolled in tortillas, or dropped by handfuls into soups and stews.

 

In recent years, purslane has become the darling of chefs, including New York's acclaimed Daniel Boulud of Daniel.

 

* Thomas M. Zennie and C. Dwayne Ogzewalla (1977) Ascorbic Acid and Vitamin A Content of Edible Wild Plants of Ohio and Kentucky Journal Economic Botany 31:76-79.

Storage:
Best if used fresh. But, if you must store it, wrap purslane in a moist paper towel and store in a plastic bag in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator.

Preparation:
Wash. Remove larger stems. Some recipes use leaves only. Purslane can be substituted for spinach or wild greens in lasagnas, filled pastas, and Greek-style tarts.

Recipes:

Anatolian Purslane, Lamb and Lentil Stew

Cucumber Purslane Yogurt Salad

Mexican Pork & Purslane

Mexican Purslane Stuffing

Creamy Purslane Potato Salad

Oil & Vinegar Purslane Potato Salad

Spicy Purslane Potato Salad

Food & Wine's Purslane Potato Salad

 

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