Whether you're a CSA devotee, a farmers' market weekender or consider ketchup a veg, we'll bring you fresh inspiration for how to prepare our local produce.
This week's harvest: Purslane/Verdolagas
Purslane is the fancy schmancy succulent weed that you see at farmers' markets around town and the rest of the country. You'll find it has teeny tangy fat leaves with with a love-it-or-hate-it mucilagenous quality and some hefty stems. It's gooey like okra, and can be used just like spinach. Heath nuts love that it contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant. Hikers love it since it has medicinal properties to assist in treating insect or snake bites. Farmers love it because it just grows without any extra effort. Farmers don't generally buy seed for purslane - but they could; they just find it between the rows and are able to harvest and share with market goers.
It was Ghandi's favorite food and who wants to mess with Ghandi? Grab a bunch this weekend and try out one of these recipes, if only for a gorgeous edible garnish.
When is purslane in season? May through August
What else is it called?
Verdolagas (Mexico), pourpier (France), glistrida (Greece), semizotu (Turkey), regelah (Hebrew), portulak (Russia), gelang pasir (Malaysia), suberi-hiyu (Japan) and Ma Chi Xian (China).
Selecting, storage and preparation tips:
Unblemished, vibrant-looking leaves and stems are best. As per usual, keep in the fridge lightly wrapped with a damp towel and a loose plastic bag. Remove the leaves from the stems if the stems are too woody. Otherwise you can eat it all. Enjoy as soon as possible and share any leftovers with your neighbors.
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Here's an easy way to get pursane into your diet, first thing in the morning.
Black Barley, Purslane and Watermelon Salad
Inspired from a Martha tabbouleh recipe, this one is a nice twist. Don't worry if you can't find black barley, just locate and cook your grain of choice.
Warm Potato Salad with Purslane and Pancetta
You'll find many a potato salad recipe when you look for purslane recipes, here's a looker.
Tomato Purslane Salad with White Peach Dressing
Peaches are out of season here now but grab your canned peaches or peach jam and whip up this beauty.
Chicken and Purslane Sandwich with Tarragon Mayonnaise
Tuck purslane into any great sandwich. This one looked particularly nice.
Greek-Style Purslane Pesto
Super way to eat purslane. Spread on a sandwich, or top your favorite pasta - zucchini ribbons perhaps.
Chinese-Style Pickled Purslane
Tart little bites to scatter on a cheese plate or straight out of the container standing in front of the fridge. Scroll to bottom of page for recipe.
Jennifer Woods is a local food advocate with over 10 years working in the AZ food industry, and currently works for Crooked Sky Farms, a CSA produce farm based in South Phoenix.