Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) comes from Portulaceae family and has many names like green purslane, pigweed, portulaca, kitchen-garden purslane, poor man’s spinach and munyeroo (Aboriginal term).
Purslane is considered as a weed by many farmers. However, it is an edible succulent with a chewy texture and a mild, slightly lemony taste. Depending on the variety, the leaves can be very fleshy, too –like juicier cuisine of lamb’s lettuce.
Selection and Storage
Purslane is a delicate creature. So buy it only a day or two before you use it. Because it won’t last long –even in the fridge. Choose purslane with bright green leaves. Seal it in a plastic bag and store in the vegetable crisper at the bottom of your fridge.
Where to Use
Salads: Purslane is widely used as a raw salad ingredient in countries like Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Cyprus, Armenia and Syria. Purslane Salad with Yoghurt or Yoğurtlu Semizotu Salatası from Turkish cuisine and the famous Middle Eastern salad Fatoush are great examples.
Stews: In Turkish cuisine, there is a vegetarian stew featuring purslane and it’s called Zeytinyağlı Semizotu. There is a variation of it with rice, too.
Soups: Purslane is one of the main ingredients in the French soup called ‘bonne femme’ mostly for its gelling, binding, thickening effect. Very much like okra.
Purslane goes particularly well with these ingredients:
• Flat-leaf parsley
• Bay leaves
• Chilli flakes
• Onion and spring onion (scallions)
• Cheeses like feta or halloumi
Purslane is a good source of iron, vitamins A and C, calcium, magnesium and one of the best plant sources of the Omega 3 fatty acids.