Purslane in big pots with a lot of socio-cultural questions


In our visits to Yedikule Gardens we had encountered some basic types of vegetables. In July, for example, we might find purslane (in Turkish Semizotu) in the gardens we had visited. Purslane or vegetable porcelane (Portulaca oleracea) is a species of plants with creeping stems, often considered a weed, although it is cultivated for food and used in herbal medicine. It is annual and very common in gardens. It grows best in warm areas particularly in the south. Purslane grows throughout Turkey-İstanbul and in all warm and temperate regions of the Earth. It is found both in Europe and Asia, America or Australia. Nevertheless its specialties might differ from region to region.

Greeks call andrakla (αντράκλα) or glystrida (γλυστρίδα) as they fry it in olive oil leaves and stems with feta, tomatoes, garlic and marjoram. (I had tried it in Thesseloniki last summer, in July) Young stems and leaves of purslane are eaten in salads, and sour taste gives a little twist. In Turkey it is used in salads but also tends to replace the spinach because it is easier to prepare. For vegetable growing, there is a form with large leaves one gold leaf varieties and varieties with pink or white flowers grown for ornament. (We cannot find this type in Yedikule Gardens) It may also be cooked in a soup or omelet. Purslane is laxative, diuretic and beneficial in case of irritation of mucous membranes. Therefore it is a vegetable used in many dishes based on the other product that might be found in that region. Nevertheless I believe cooking purslane like spinach might demolish its vitamins and reduce the portion of the meal. Using it as a product for salad might be more meaningful if we would like to feed a big family. For big families, cooking meals in big pots with lots of ingredients might be a good way of feeding the family easier and escaping the time wasted on cooking. Ottoman families were also known by its large population including some members from outside the family. I wonder how did cooking the purslane and reducing its portion have become a way of using it. In pragmatically and anthropological aspects I could only give one answer to this problematic. As I mentioned before, maybe the type of purslane differs from region to region and Ottomans had found it more useful to cook. It might be about the proportion of the water inside the plant which had grown in İstanbul. Nevertheless cooking purslane might be a coincidence of cooking culture synthesis. In other words Ottoman families who are used to feeding their family by cooking in big pots might have put the purslane that they had planted in their gardens. In this way they had skipped its usage in salads which might show us how cultural and social facts had influenced the pragmatically and useful solutions in a bad way.

By explaining this dilemma I would like to focus on the bad inducement of social, economic and cultural issues in contrast with ecological aspects. In the case of the usage of purslane, I believe the pot cooking culture of Ottoman-Turkish had skipped the importance of the vitamins inside the purslane and diminished the possible portions of purslane for families. In this paper by considering last session on activism I would like to pay attention to the influence of socio-cultural issues on ecological perception of individuals.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s