Scientific NamePortulaca oleracea (Portulacees family)
Varieties of purslane
There are two varieties of purslane: golden purslane and green purslane.
Purslane, also called Portulaca oleacera, is a leafy vegetable grown like the spinach.
It is an annual summer plant, very fleshy with reddish stems, either horizontal or erect and split. The pivoting root has a whitish colour. The opposed leaves have a short leafstalk. They are obovate, sidelong at the base, sometimes serrated, very shiny, with a colour that ranges from green to red. The flowers are yellow and have four to six petals.
It is commonly known as "rose moss or moss roses", Bortolaiga or Porcelana.
The main producers are the Netherlands, England, France, Belgium and Germany.
Shall be eaten young, when it is very tasty, with a tender, moist consistency and a lightly acidulous, slightly sharp tang (when the bigger leaves become hard and develop a strong taste). It is eaten from March to October and should be used soon after purchase, since it does not keep for very long.
It is naturally rich in Omega 3 and is one of the elements that helps to explain the benefits of the famous "Cretan diet".
Nutritional values (per 100 g)
*Ciqual 2013 **Recommended Daily Intake
Purslane is an excellent source of provitamin A and beta-carotene and has some antioxidant properties.
It is also a source of iron and magnesium.
Its high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega 3 and "essential fatty acids") makes it highly recommended for anyone.
When it comes to portions...?
- a child portion : a little handtful
- an adult portion : two medium handfuls
Cooking and nutrition: tasty combinations
- Purslane and pepper salad with lemon and olive oil: the bioavailability of iron which the purslane is particularly rich in is enhanced by the high levels of vitamin C in the pepper and lemon. This slightly tangy salad is made milded by adding some ripe tomatoes.
- Soup with parmesan: extremely rich in calcium (purslane and cheese), this dish benefits from the addition of other vegetables with a good fibre content, not highly contained in the purslane (carrots, potatoes, tomatoes).