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Purslane – The edible weed that’s extremely delicious and highly nutritional!

Common purslane, Portulaca oleracea, is a highly variable, weedy plant in the purslane family (Portulacaceae) with a wide distribution. Although it is likely native to North Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, it had reached North America by pre-Columbian times and was in Europe by the late 16th century. It is now naturalized in most parts of the world, both tropical and temperate – equally at home in flower beds, cultivated fields, and roadsides or other disturbed or waste places. It has been grown for more than 4,000 years as a food and medicinal plant and is still cultivated in many places today.

It is considered quite nutritious because it is unusually high in omega-3 fatty acids (found mostly in fish and flax seeds) and contains significant amounts of vitamins A and C, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium and antioxidants.

The stems, leaves and flower buds have a slightly tart or sour and salty taste. the flavour has also been described as garlicky and peppery. The intensity of flavor is influenced by the physiology of the plant. In hot, dry conditions purslane switches to a different kind of photosynthesis as a means of conserving moisture. In this system the leaves trap carbon dioxide at night (instead of during the day as with normal photosynthetic process, when open stomata would allow valuable water to escape through transpiration) and convert this to malic acid. Then the malic acid, which has a sour flavor, is converted to glucose for storage during the day. So leaves picked early in the day when malic acid concentrations are highest will have the tartest flavor. (Get freshly harvested purselane from natural/organic farmers on Farmizen)

Known by different names around the world, this common weed has become a culinary delicacy owing to its complex flavours and extremely high nutrition. Purslane is used in salads, soups, stews, and tomato sauces. When cooked, purslane becomes mucilaginous and will act as a thickener in soups or stews.

Here are some common names for Purselane from around the world

Kannada – Ganni Soppu
English – Common Purselane
Arabic – Bakleh
Spanish – Verdolaga
Turkish – Semizotu
Chinese – Ma Chi Xian

Now the reason I specify these names is different languages is because if you search for ‘Purselane Recipes’ google uncle will only give you recipes local to your geographic area. Searching with the names in different languages yeilds a treasure trove of amazing recipes. Here are some amazing recipes we have compiled but there are lot more out there!

 

Turkish Recipe – Purslane with Rice (Pirinçli Semizotu)

Ingredients
500gms purslane
1 medium onion, finely chopped (
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp rice or millets or quinoa
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
juice of half lemon
1/3 cup water
2 tsp crushed spicy Chillies

Directions
-Wash purslane well and chop it into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces along with the stems
-Heat oil in a wide pot. Stir in onion and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes till the onions turn transluscent and garlic becomes aromatic.
-Add in the chillies and cook for 1-2 minutes.
-Add purslane. Stir a couple of times until wilted.
-Add lemon juice, salt, pepper, and water.
-When it starts boiling, add rice (or whatever grain you’re using but make sure it’s something that wouldn’t take too long to cook) and turn the heat down to low.
-Cover and simmer until rice is cooked.
-Serve warm or cold with garlicy yogurt on the side.

Argentinian Chimichurri

Ingredients

1 cup purslane leaves
1 cup Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 chillies
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons wine vinegar, or to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.

 

Lebanese Salatet Baklé bi Laban (Yoghurt Purselane Salad)

Ingredients

3 cups whole milk yogurt
4 cups of destemmed purslane leaves
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried mint

Directions

– Destem the purslane leaves and remove dead leaves and other debris before you wash in cold water, drain well.
– While you wait for the purslane leaves to dry out in a colander make the the yogurt dressing: combine the yogurt with garlic and dried mint, season with salt.
– Toss the yogurt dressing over the purslane leaves.
– Drizzle with olive oil on top.

Chinese Purselane Salad ( Ma Chi Xian Salad)

Ingredients

400gms fresh purslane

For the salad dressing:
2 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp sesame oil

Method
– Wash and rinse purslane well.
– Fill a stockpot with water and bring it to a boil
– Mix salad dressing ingredients together in a small bowl
– Once the water is boiling, submerge the purselane leaves into the water and wait for it to come back up to a boil again.
– Turn off the heat, and remove purslane from the pot and drin with a collander
– Add to a bowl and pour over the salad dressing and mix well

 

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