Purslane

A Delicious Edible Weed!

In some regions, this exotic weed was earlier considered as a menace and an invasive plant. Purslane or Portulaca oleracea is typically an herb which has gained its momentum for the past decades. In historical contexts, however, this sprawling stout herb had been greatly utilized in a majority of the areas embracing the East Mediterranean regions. In as early as 4th century B.C. Purslane was deemed among the many summer aromatic plants that must be sown in April. Even before such times, its remarkably eminent use in medicinal terms has been sought after by many important people.

This succulent herb found in the family Portulacaceae, and is more than just any intimidating leafy plant that devours your landscapes and meadows. Aside from its commonly used name “Purslane”, this humble weed is also labeled as Little Hogweed, Verdolaga, Pigweed, or Pusley. It is not just a leafy herb, it also has inconspicuous flowers. Its yellow flowers, that blossom at the center of the leaf cluster, are typically 6 mm in size. These flowers bloom at all times of the year. During bright and sunny mornings, these five-petaled flowers emerge one by one. Purslane’s fruit capsules nurse tiny black seeds that eventually open when the seeds come to maturity. Who would even dare overlook the plant’s branchy thick stem which is red in color? Its reddish branches are like cable-wires and commonly creep through the soil horizontally like vines. Young Purslanes, however, have green stems instead of a reddish tint of their mature counterparts, that usually reach 4 to 10 inches long. The most popular part of this plant, which is its leaves, resembles paddles or small paper clips that typically have no stalk. The oblong-shaped leaves are clustered at the center and they are amazingly succulent and juicy to taste.

You might as well be surprised to know that Purslane or Pusley is actually a delectable herb that is definitely a good addition to your favorite dishes! The virtue of this succulent plant is more than just an annoying weed in your garden. It may prove to be one of the most tasty herbs you are growing! It is incredibly flavorful, and amazingly nourishing. Consumed as a leaf vegetable, Purslane is vastly enjoyed throughout European, Asian, Mexican, cuisines.  It has a distinctly spicy and succulently salty-and-sour taste. Everything about this marvelous weed is edible, its stems, leaves and flowers—they are all a great to eat. In every country and culture, this herb has its unique way of infiltrating local cuisine. In Greece, Purslanes are called “andrakla” or “glystrida”. Hearty Greeks incorporate this leafy plant in their dishes like creamy feta cheese, where they add purslane with a handful of herbs and spices. Purslane seeds are even used for seed cakes in Australia. One distinct trait of Purslane is its mucilaginous quality. It is capable of producing a thick-somewhat-gluey substance which makes it perfect for stews and soups. Stir-fry dishes are also an amazing way to enjoy this herby delight. If you want to enjoy it raw, you can make amazing salads from it. Its pungent essence and chewy texture is an exceptional enhancement to your recipes.

Recipes for Purslane

Vegan Breaded Zucchini with Purslane Chimichurri

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