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Purslane - what do you do with it?

I've encountered a good source of pesticide-free weed and wonder what you suggest?

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  1. I remove the tiny fleshy little leaves from the stems, discard the stems, & sprinkle/toss the leaves in green salads. They add a nice tangy sort of citrusy flavor.

    And for those who really become fans of Purslane, there are dometicated versions available from seed companies. Leaves are larger & plants are less scraggly. There's even a gold-leaved type.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bacardi1

      The patches of it in our garden on our farm when I was growing up were so extensive that we had to pick it and burn it. Each tiny piece of it would grow very quickly and make dreadful mats all over. We often picked several 5-gallon pails of the stuff. So, my purslane memories are not the fondest.

      Getting beyond that, I agree that it is best in salads with a tart vinaigrette.

    2. Look in "Walden". Thoreau mentions eating it. I think he boiled it. Although Bacardi's salad sounds better to me.

      1. eat your books has a lot purslane recipes. hate to hear about burning it....but it is a weed, like nettles and the "sour grass" we found as kids in NC...I love sorrel now.

        1. How about a sautée? My friends and I shared a dish of it as a side when we last ate at Barbuto in NYC and it was revelatory especially with the main dishes we had.

          3 Replies
          1. re: huiray

            I've never had it cooked. What is the texture like? Does it get slimy or stay relatively crisp?

            1. re: Bacardi1

              Relatively crisp. The dish we had was more along the lines of a sauté/stir-fry, if that makes sense. It was soft-crunchy, interesting taste, accompanied well the seared ribeye it was presented with - but it went swimmingly with the (famous) Jonathan Waxman chicken as well as a fabulous pasta dish. IIRC it evoked just slightly stir-fried watercress, although the flavors are not the same. I could imagine that it would turn to mush if you cooked it to death; and would suspect that it might have a slimy texture as well - but I have not done that to find out. :-)

              1. re: huiray

                Thanks! That's what I was thinking as well - that since its interior is a bit muciliginous(sp?), it might get slimy when cooked. If I try it, I'll have to remember to keep it quick.

          2. Some previous ideas here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/643387

            Personally, I would sautee with some EVOO, garlic, and onions, then puree and make purslane soup.

            1. In Dunlops "Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook" there's a Hunan recipe which stir-fries purslane with chiles and ginger, then finishes them with a slosh of vinegar.

              1. Here...I'm not gonna type the whole link, I'll just let you read it for yourself:


                Just be aware that raw purslane has a tendency toward being slightly laxative. Which, in all, may not be a bad thing, speaking dietarily. As an aside, I have this stuff growing in my garden, in pots and in buckets, and have seen it for SALE at farmers' markets for upwards of $2.00/pound.

                1. evil evil stuff, just like okra. Marked in my house as : Do Not Eat.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Chowrin

                    No, not "evil evil stuff". It's simply a matter of personal preference.

                    1. re: Bacardi1

                      am expressing my personal preference.

                  2. We had a wonderful dish with purslane in Istanbul at the Cukor Meyhane. It was thick yogurt mixed with raw grated celeric and chopped purslane. Delicious with fish or chicken or as a dip. Back home, purslane is hard to find so I make it with chopped arugula and a squirt or two of lemon juice instead.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: corncakes

                      Just noticed my typo....that's celeriac....celery root....just in case anyone thought I was trying to say celery! It really is a terrific little condiment....

                      1. re: corncakes

                        I do something similar but mix purslane and scallions in thick yogurt mixed with garlic, sumac, Aleppo pepper, mint and rose water. Celeriac seems like an interesting textural change.

                      2. I feed it to my tortoises. I've tried to like it, but I can't. Don't like the sourness. (I hate sorrell also).
                        Not a fan of most weeds....I like store bought dandelion, sauteed, but not the stuff from my garden. That goes to the tortoises also, along with plantain. But I do have fond memories of the nettles I used to pick in college....they tasted good. And they didn't sting when I grasped them firmly.....

                        1. We would always look forward to purslane in the spring and my mom always made it into a delicious little stew with braised pork riblets, onions, garlic, green chile and tomatoes. Black beans and corn tortillas always on the side. Even better re-heated as leftovers (rarely any).

                          1. I made a WONDERFUL simple salad this past week with purslane (big stems removed, but I didn't pick every leaf off the smaller branches), chopped good peaches, and minced sweet onion, dressed simply with good olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. My guests, none of whom were particularly adventurous eaters, devoured it.

                            1. Just picked up some purslane at the local farmers' market. I don't like the sliminess of it when it is heavily cooked. So I cooked up a pot of fava beans, then recooked and reduced the bean stock, adding spices, and then took the pot off the stove and wilted some fresh purslane into the pot. Served it topped with feta. Delicious.

                              1. I had a fabulous purslane salad in a little Istanbul Resto. Made with chopped fresh purslane, grated celeriac and yogurt.

                                1. Claudia Roden's big blue book had a simple, perfect way to prepare it. Make a dressing whisking yogurt, pressed garlic (not minced), olive oil and salt and pepper. Pour on purslane. Done.

                                  I find if I use lebneh instead of yogurt it works even better.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: mary shaposhnik

                                    Thanks, Mary - that's sound delicious. On Sunday, I had a purslane salad dressed with a dressing of 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tbl lemon juice, 1 tbl sherry vinegar, 1 tsp. balsamic, 1 tbl fresh mint and salt and pepper, which was also excellent, but I like to vary my salad dressings so the yogurt or lebneh based dressing sounds excellent as well.

                                    Since I also picked up so much purslane at the farmer's market, I also threw some in a frittata, which was nice.

                                    Basically, I think you can use it however you would use spinach.

                                  2. I always have purslane on hand in the summertime for salads. The leaves alone are used for fattoush or a simple salad with Armenian cucumbers and tomatoes, but small and tender stems can also make their way into yogurt salads.

                                    When it's cooler, purslane is fantastic stir fried with onions, roasted tomatoes and pasilla chile salsa. Roll that in a corn tortilla with a dollop of crema and you're in heaven. I might also wilt purslane further in a guajillo salsa and make that a sauce for pork chops with coriander. They also make wonderful stuffing for turnovers with onions, pepper, sumac, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses.

                                    1. I recently made a variation on huevos con verdolagas, or scrambled eggs with purslane. (I make no claims to authenticity, this was based on what I read online and what I had around the house.) Sautee a sliced onion and some minced garlic. Add the purslane, salt, and pepper, and sautee until mostly wilted. Scramble in eggs and the cheese of your choice, keeping everything moving. Remove from heat as soon as the eggs are mostly set. Serve in a pita, on toast, or in a tortilla. This was surprisingly good at room temperature as lunch the next day, too.

                                      1. Right now I have my eye on some purslane growing in a cemetery near me. Not quite harvest-ready yet. It is pesticide free but probably not dog free so I'll need to wash well.

                                        1. Honestly? I yank it out of the flower bed and throw it in the trash.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: arashall

                                            Purslane sends down a strong taproot which aids your traditional plants by helping THEM get water. Keep it! It's a real boon to your garden!

                                            1. re: ta24jc

                                              And if one is that close minded to just yank it out and not eat it (millions of mexicans can't be wrong), one should compost.

                                          2. This plant in Mexico is known as 'Verdolaga'. It is prepared as a vegetable. After soaking & washing I break off the thick fibrous stems leaving the tender ones alone. I boil till tender. In a separately skillet I saute onion, tomatoes and yellow or jalapeño chile if you like spicy in a little canola oil. You can drain some of the water from the Verdolagas if you like or leave all the water so you have more 'soup'. Add the sauteed mix, season with garlic, salt and powdered chicken bouillion. Simmer for a few minutes more and you are ready to serve with corn tortillas. This is a tasty almost no calorie dish.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Landie

                                              It grows in the cracks in the street here in Austin. Lots of ways to use it.

                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                It grows abundantly in the cracks of sidewalks here in the DC 'burbs too. A plant well-poised for global climate change, I guess.

                                                Big dog pee-free bunches are very cheap at the farmers market as it seems to be mostly popular with Hispanic shoppers.

                                              2. re: Landie

                                                that is how I know them as verdolagas, washed sautéed with onion & I think cooked in a little milk, kinda like creamed spinach, it was good.

                                              3. Purslane and chicken meatballs are a good combo. A mexican preparation.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: rudeboy

                                                  Sounds pretty good...I'll have to try it. Thanks!

                                                2. Do you have Mediterranean Harvest by Martha Rose Shulman? There is a really delicious purslane salad in that book. Her recipe for panzanella is also very good, and I recall using purslane in that as well.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. Here on the border, verdolagas can be prepared in enchiladas. An Arizona/Sonoran friend used to fix it that way with a frijole sauce. Quite excellent. I have a couple pictures of them in a post on the restaurant Danny (RIP) owned in Yuma.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Ed Dibble

                                                      I can't wait to try some of these new ideas! I have a batch of beautiful lush verdolagas growing in my yard now! Thanks.