Is that strange weed edible?  Try some Purslane

Purslane - the finished dish.by Hal Schade, s/v Griffin

While walking through the Saturday morning vegetable market in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico last year we came upon a plant we didn’t recognize.
 
I picked it up to inspect. The vendor said, “Verdolaga.” My puzzlement must have revealed my limited Spanish, and he continued, “Purslane.”
 
Well, I thought, where are the blooms? No roots, how do you want me to plant it?
 
Wait, don’t plant it, eat it! Next came an explanation of the local way to cook this plant and all the wonderful nutrients it contained.
 
Thus began another food love affair that, fortunately, has continued to our home in College Station, Texas.
 
After coming home, we began a search for this plant. Nothing. Then one lucky Saturday morning (pattern developing here!), at the local Farmers Market, I mentioned purslane to one of the vendors. He said he “weeded” his gardens of it frequently. I asked if he would bring some the next week, he did and the beat goes on!
 
So, if you think of it as a weed, 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. 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.
 
 
Enough of the science, lets’ eat. Here’s how we prepare it. (Sorry I don’t do measures and weights, but that’s just not how I cook!)
 
After washing well, trim the roots off. I generally go up to the lower leaf groups to cut, BUT don’t ignore the larger stem parts (see photo 2). They are filled with nutrients, and depending on how long you cook them, they can give a “spaghetti” texture (see photo 4).
 
I take a gallon zip-lock bag of verdolaga and trim it. It cooks down a great bit, so you need a large pot to start. I put olive oil in the pot, toss in onions, garlic and diced tomatoes, then verdolaga; stir it up, add a little water, cover over low heat and let it simmer. Cook as long or little as you want…verdolaga is good raw or cooked! Spice it up with cayenne or other peppers, and maybe add some lemon or lime zest. It’s really good with Mexican Cotija or other grated cheese sprinkled on.
 
See ya at the Saturday market…I wonder what’s next!!!!
Just picked Purslane Chopping the Purslane.
Freshly picked Purslane Preparing the Purslane
Purslane chopped & ready to cook. Purslane, the finished dish.
Purslane cleaned & ready to cook. The finished dish ... yum.

Buen Provecho…



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