Guest Author - Jason Hodge
My wife and I are always trying something new in the food world. From smoothies to soups, salads, pies and the like, we like to mix and match old standards with new ideas. Here's some things we came up with for the nutrient dense, health promoting herb purslane.
We were at one of our frequented farmers markets, perusing the bountiful harvest of our favorite farmers and we came across an herb that I've seen in the Mexican markets, but never ventured in to figuring out how to use. A good friend of mine told me years ago how they would see them come up at their house, in the yard and would harvest them and put them in bean dishes, tortillas, salads and a whole bunch of other things. So here we are years later, running into purslane or 'verdolaga', as it's called in Mexico.
As you all should know by now, I'm very epi-'curious' so I began to ask the farmer about it. He not only gave me a great background on it, but he said something that intrigued me even more and caused me to add it to our vegetarian arsenal of sustainable, beneficial, vegetarian foods and to dive deeper into its research. He told me that it has the highest level of omega 3s in the vegetable kingdom. Here's what I learned in my searching...
Although it's considered by many to be a weed, it's something that has been eaten the world over on many tables in many feasts. Purslane, Portulaca oleracea can be cultivated as a garden herb, which we are now doing. It spreads very easily and is tolerant of many climates and growing conditions. It contains vitamins A, C, some B and carotenoids, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron and according to an entry on wikipedia referencing a report on antimutagenic activities of vegetable extracts there are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments that are antioxidants and have been shown to have, you guessed it, "antimutagenic properties in laboratory studies". When you're going for some of the benefits you'll have to eat them raw while others will need to be accessed through eating the purslane cooked.
Tasty and nourishing! This is a combo we want in our diets. So there's a little nutritional background on it, now let's get on with some recipe ideas.
on sandwiches instead of lettuce or watercress
in soups and stews
as a snack
There are numerous ways for you to use this amazing, beneficial 'weed' that it would be to your benefit to incorporate it into your must eat list.
As always, it's been my pleasure sharing with you these recipe ideas. Until next time...