Purslane is a leafy vegetable native to the Indian sub-continent but is now cultivated all across the world by the common name of wild weed. The scientific name of purslane is Portulaca oleracea and is also known as fatweed, pigweed, little hogweed and pusley. It has mucilaginous and thick leaves with yellow flowers, whereas, the seeds of the plant look like granules of black tea powder.
Purslane is a wild weed which reseeds itself if disturbed; therefore it is very difficult to get rid of it which makes it very difficult for farmers to prevent it from spreading. The entire plant including the stems, leaves, flowers and seeds are edible. It is commonly eaten throughout Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East as a staple leafy vegetable, as it is highly nutritious and can be eaten cooked or raw. Having a slightly sour and salty taste and 93% of water content, it is better known for addition to sandwiches and salads. Its crisp texture adds a satisfying note to many dishes and is so versatile that it goes with any cuisine. There are many varieties of purslane having different sizes of leaves, leaf arrangement, pigment distribution and thickness.
Purslane seeds are used for making some herbal drinks. As purslane has been used since prehistoric times, it is used for different purposes in different cultures including Chinese medicine. It is used in stews, omelettes and many other recipes for its intense flavour. Its richness in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E and most of the Omega-3 fatty acids has made it popular throughout the world now. The nutrient content makes it very beneficial for maintaining health. Other nutrients found are magnesium, iron, potassium, manganese, copper and calcium.
Selection: Choose small, oblong, wedge-shaped and dark green leaves with red-tinted stems. Avoid wilted and dry brown areas which are yellow or pale.
Storage: Keep purslanes in a plastic bag and refrigerate them in order to keep fresh for up to a week.
Following are the nutritional values of purslane per 100gms:
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.1 g||0.5%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.036 mg||1%|
|Vitamin A||1320 IU||44%|
|Vitamin C||21 mg||35%|
- Due to high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in purslane, it helps in reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) and prevents various heart diseases, thus maintaining heart health.
- Potassium, which acts as a vasodilator, helps in keeping blood vessels relaxed and reduces strain on the heart.
- Purslane contains dietary fibre which gives the feeling of fullness when consumed without increasing the calorie intake, thereby helps in maintaining the diet and losing weight.
- The organic compounds in purslane like malic acid, dopamine, alanine, citric acid, glucose, etc help in treating intestinal disorders like diarrhoea, intestinal bleeding, etc.
- Consumption of purslane improves skin health and quality, stimulates healing of skin cells, reduces wrinkles and removes scars.
- Purslane helps in preventing lung and oral cancer as it contains vitamin C and vitamin A, which are anti-oxidants. Moreover, betacyanins and betaxanthins prevent free radicals from causing mutation in healthy cells which avoids the development of cancer.
- Vitamin A and beta-carotene content in purslane improve eye health and as discussed above, elimination of free radicals prevents other age-related eye diseases.
- Magnesium, calcium, manganese and iron present in purslane helps in strengthening the bones.
- The high levels of iron and copper in it stimulates the production of red blood cells which enables the blood to deliver more oxygen to different essential parts of the body.
The only known side effect of purslane is that the oxalic acid content can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
- Tomato, Cucumber, Purslane Salad: https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/tomato_cucumber_purslane_salad/
2. Wild purslane salad with olive oil and lemon dressing: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/wild-purslane-salad-with-olive-oil-and-lemon-dressing-380139
- Farro Risotto + Purslane Pistachio Pesto: https://localmilkblog.com/2013/08/farro-risotto-purslane-pistachio-pesto.html
- Purslane Fennel Pasta with Dill Cream: http://ashleyneese.com/purslane-fennel-pasta-with-dill-cream/
- Purslane with Grilled Corn, Red Onions, and Creamy Avocado Dressing: https://brooklynsupper.com/purslane-with-grilled-corn-red-onions-and-a-creamy-avocado-dressing/