Prof. Cemal Kafadar
5 August 2014
Botanically purslane vegetable belongs to family of Portulacaceae and scientifically known as Portulaca oleracea. Purslane is native to India and Persia and widely distributed throught the continent. It is also supposed that it reached North America in the pre-Colombian era. Purslane is an edible leafy vegetable that is the most nutritious plant in the world. It contains most Omega 3 vitamins among other leafy vegetable plants and that’s good for the vegetarians. It’s also high in Vitamins A and C, and has a bit of calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium and potassium. Its leaves appear thick and have slightly lemony and salty taste. The tiny flowers of vegetable generally are yellow, pink or red and there are many little black seed inside. Succulent leaves and stems and its yellow flower buds are also edible. Fresh raw leaves can be used as salad with yogurt or vegetable juice. Additionally it can be cooked as spinach or a delicious soup can be made from the leaves. There is little difference between wild and domesticated purslane in terms of taste and nutrient content. Wild purslane is a creeping plant that grows along the ground where domesticated purslane, sometimes called garden purslane, grows more upright and can reach over a foot in height. Hence, domesticated varieties of purslane stay more quite clean considering wild one. Most say that domestic purslane has a milder flavor than the wild version and it has more lemony taste.
Purslane is a warm-weather crop and need full sun and neutral well-drained soil. The seeds of vegetable are sowed in 10-20 cm depth. The land is fertilized then irrigated. Harvest time (early June till end of the summer) comes right after in 50-70 days. Purslane can be kept in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days and should be eaten while the leaves are fresh. Before the consuming it must be cleaned with plenty of water in order to remove pesticides.
I was already known this vegetable. My mother frequently cooks it but in my child I do not like too much its sour taste. But two weeks ago I bought a bundle of purslane from Yedikule gardens and I cooked. Firstly I repeatedly washed all the leaves and it took many times. After I sure that it was totally purified, I chopped the onions and purslane with stems. Then I put the oil in a large saucepan and added the onions, grated tomato and a little sauce. After all cooked for a while I put the chopped purslane and mixed them all. Finally I barely put in boiled water and a little salt. 20 minutes later my meal was ready. It was too delicious and better than my mom’s.