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Purslane

Beautiful and delicious.

These characteristics are the reasons why people love purslane. They look great as ornamental, and they are delicious when you eat them.

Purslane has smooth, reddish, mostly prostrate stems. The plant has alternating or opposite leaves clustered at stem joints and ends. It also has yellow flowers, and there is no one specific time or period when these flowers appear. To make the flower sighting extra difficult, listen to this: the flowers will open only for a few hours on a sunny morning.

Purslane also goes by these names: duckweed, little hogweed, and pursley. There may be many different local names used to refer to purslane because people from different cultures and communities included purslane in their regular diet.

Kingdom: Plantae
OrderCaryophyllales
FamilyPortulacaceae
GenusPortulaca
SpeciesP. oleracea
Binomial name: Portulaca oleracea

Purslane Trivia

  • Purslane’s Binomial name is Portulaca oleracea – the word “oleracea” means vegetable or herbal in Latin. 
  • Pliny the Elder, Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, believed in the healing properties of purslane and its ability to ward off evil if worn or carried as an amulet.
  • Many prehistoric sites indicate the use of purslane of prehistoric people.
  • Purslane is called andrákla (αντράκλα) or glistrída (γλιστρίδα) by the Greeks.

Purslane Buying Guide

When buying purslane, check if the leaves and stems look fresh. Check for any signs of damage or discoloration. If the freshly-harvested purslane cuttings on display for sale are not sealed inside a packaging, smell it to check if there is something in how it smells that tells you whether it is clean, safe, and ok to buy.

You can also buy purslane food supplements in supermarkets, pharmacies, or specialty stores.

Sprouted purslane plants are sold in nurseries.

Purslane Production & Farming in Texas

Scatter purslane seeds where you want them to grow. It needs to be on the surface of the soil to germinate. Another way to start purslane is by planting purslane cuttings. The care for growing purslane is easy and simple because purslane grows similarly like a weed; even if you do not pay attention to it, it will find a way to grow on its own. Just monitor it to avoid the unwanted spread of purslane considering this plant is potentially invasive. 

It needs direct sunlight and soil that is not prone to getting waterlogged. Purslane will die if it gets too much water and the water does not drain well. Dry, not parched – that is the perfect soil condition for this plant. Soil with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 7.5 is alright for purslane.

In some places and depending on the environmental and growing conditions, the tropical perennial purslane grows as an annual. Purslane can grow up to 40 cm (16 inches) tall. It can tolerate poor soil and drought.

If you want to grow purslane as a microgreen, you will need a tray, potting mix, and purslane seeds. Scatter the seeds on the soil and water the plants enough for the soil not to completely dry out. It will soon develop cotyledons or its first true leaves. By that time, your microgreen is ready and you can start harvesting your purslane microgreens.

According to AgriLife Today, purslane is common in Texas especially since this plant can take the hot summers in the Lone Star state.

Pesticides:

The sawfly leafminer is a pest that you will commonly encounter while growing purslane. Use spinosad against leafminers.

 Geography: 

Purslane is found everywhere in the world, from North Africa to Southern Europe, the Middle East, and India. Purslane reached North America sometime during the pre-Columbian era. Restaurants in Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Mexico are cooking and serving food with purslane.

USDA zones 10 and 11 are where purslane grows best.

Packaging

Purslane is sold in transparent plastic clamshell packaging. This allows you to see the condition of the leaves inside. Sometimes, you can find purslane sold in Styrofoam or a plastic tray covered with plastic wrap.

Purslane food supplements are sold in plastic bottles. 

Enjoying Purslane

So what parts are edible? You can eat the stems, leaves, and flower buds. Even the seeds have their use – the Aboriginal Australians use them to make seed cakes. 

If you haven’t had purslane, you might be wondering: what does it taste like? The answer is slightly sour and salty. Some say it has a lemony flavor. This is why purslane is great with other vegetables, greens, and herbs like spinach, oregano, and arugula leaves; with food complimenting the taste of purslanes like feta cheese, poached eggs, tomatoes, lentils, peas, potatoes, bacon, lemons, even with yogurt and rice; with ingredients that drive flavor in a dish like onions, garlic, black pepper, chives, scallions, butter, leeks, and red pepper; and used alongside liquids that brings out the best in purslane taste-wise, like olive oil, white vinegar, chicken stock, and Dijon mustard. Fresh purslane is crunchy, and many people eat it raw and fresh. Others eat it with bread or use it as an ingredient in a dish.  

It is delicious. It is healthy. It is enjoyable to eat because of its texture. But is there anyone who should avoid it? Yes, particularly those who are susceptible to developing kidney stones by eating purslane which has high oxalic acid content.

Storage:

If you want to refrigerate purslane, use a plastic bag and make sure to close the bag before putting it in the refrigerator. This way, the purslane will stay in good condition for several days. You can also freeze it using a freezer bag, but you cannot use it for salad. The best use for frozen purslane is for soups. 

Cooking: 

People enjoy eating purslane as a very versatile leaf vegetable. The most common use of purslane is on salads. It is also used in making stir-fry dishes, soups (like palpina soup in Kurdistan or sopa de beldroegas in the Alentejo region of Portugal) and stews, casserole, and baked pastries. Some just boil it, that’s it! Purslane is an excellent substitute for spinach or watercress.

Nutritional Benefits:

Purslane contains carbohydrates, protein, calories, vitamin E, vitamin C, and dietary minerals. Purslane is the richest vegetable source of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid. A 2016 article by The Gazette describes purslane as the vegetable with the highest Omega-3 content.

When Are Purslane in Season in Texas?

To find out when Purslane are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 20.7 1%
  • Carbs: 4.1g 1%
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g 0%
  • Protein: 1.7g 3%
  • Fat: 0.2g 0%
  • Saturated Fat: 0g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 322mg 13%
  • Vitamin C 12.1mg 20%
  • Vitamin A 2130IU 43%
  • Calcium 89.7mg 9%
  • Iron 0.9mg 5%
  • Potassium 561mg 16%
  • Vitamin B6 0.1mg 4%
  • Folate 10.3mcg 3%
  • Magnesium 77mg 19%
  • Phosphorus 42.6mg 4%
  • Manganese 0.4mg 18%
  • Copper 0.1mg 7%
  • Zinc 0.2mg 1%

Seasonality

When are Purslane in season in Texas?

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

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