Edible properties of purslane

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.

How to eat purslane leaves

HOW TO COOK PURSLANE AND ITS NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Purslane as edible wild plant

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.) is a wild edible plant with very nutritious properties. They are very rich in fiber, omega 3, iron, calcium, vitamin A and magnesium, surpassing the nutritional value of most cultivated vegetables.

Although historically it has been a very consumed plant, at present its use is being lost due to the ignorance of its properties, and every time there are more people who consider it a weed of the orchard.

Purslane in the diet

wild purslane
Photo of purslane leaves

 

Purslane has been consumed for many years in food, until more productive crops, such as spinach, chard or lettuce, have been replacing it in the markets, and later on the tables of the houses.

Probably, the plant was consumed by our ancestors, but nowadays, its culinary use is about to be totally buried by food globalization.

Below we show the food properties of this excellent vegetable that we have in our fields, what it gives us and how it is cooked.

How is purslane consumed?

From purslane, its leaves and tender stems are consumed, in spring, before flowering, which are an ideal vegetable.

The taste of purslane is refreshing and quite neutral, so it can be added in almost any recipe.

It is generally used in salads or in vegetable recipes, similar to spinach.

History of purslane as edible wild plant

purslane soup recipe
Spanish text of a purslane soup recipe

 

There are numerous references to purslane in ancient recipe books, as in many recipes, provides beneficial properties, very healthy and pleasant to the palate.

One of the first vestiges of the use of this plant in the kitchen appears in the kitchen cookbook Sent Soví (1324), where the purslane appears cited as an ingredient of a soup, with refreshing properties.

See below an English transcription of a fragment of a Dictionary of medical sciences, volume XXIII (1824, Madrid) which contains a recipe with purslane:

PURSLANE AU LANGUEDOCIENNE

Roast lightly and then cook with salt water, drain and put in a saucepan, with oil, butter, lard or fat, salt, pepper, spices, an anchovy, parsley and a little garlic, chopped; they are immediately mixed with bread crumbs, in milk, or beef broth, leaving them to finish cooking, to add grated cheese; they are thickened with egg yolks, they are dressed in a dish or pan, and they are covered with bread and grated cheese, scrambled on both sides, leaving to be encrusted by two fires.

Recipes with purslane

The simplest way to consume purslane is as an edible leaf, similar to spinach: in salads, soups, vegetable creams, on toast, etc. They can also be mixed in recipes such as rice, pasta, stews, …

It is delicious to add purslane in vegetable creams because its mucilages give it a lot of creaminess, for example, in a zucchini cream.

It is also exquisite in a salad with, simply, a little oil, salt and black pepper. Purslane can be converted into a delicious pickle, with a bit of spices like orange peel and juniper.

In other countries the seeds are consumed. It is described that the Australian aborigines grind the seeds of the plant and use them in the preparation of breads.

* List of recipes prepared with purslane:

Letuce salad with purslane

Lettuce salad with purslane

Purslane salad with avocado

Purslane salad with avocado

Benefits and nutritional value of purslane

Purslane is rich in mucilage, a type of fiber with emollient properties to soften the tissues and relieve inflammation, suitable for diets for stomach ulcers or gastritis, to improve digestive well-being.

They also act by accelerating the intestinal transit, which makes it an ideal vegetable for people with constipation, or who have excessive cholesterol.

In addition, purslane is very diuretic and nutritious: rich in calcium, magnesium, iron and vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene).

We should highlight its high content of omega 3 (linolenic acid) (described up to 4 g of omega 3 per 100g of purslane), exceeding in omega 3 content some “superfoods” as powerful as spirulina.

* Related information:

Other wild plants edible leaves

Benefits and composition of purslane

punto rojo More information on wild edible plants.

Editorial
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

2 July, 2019

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Botanical-online is an informative page that describes, among other topics, the traditional uses of plants from a therapeutic point of view. Their descriptions do not replace professional advice. Botanical-online is not responsible for self-medication and recommends consulting with the physician.
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