Produce Recipes: Purslane
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.