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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.
Vegetable garden: growing purslane
Outdoor it can be sown until the end of September but, under shelter or in seed nurseries: throughout winter.
To ensure germination, the temperature of the soil should be below 12°C.
Shall be sown in rows at least 10 cm apart. The soil shall be cleaned but not ploughed. Like cropping salads and watercress, purslane regrows rapidly after picking, as long as it is not cropped too low.
Purslane is present throughout the Mediterranean basin and grows easily even if the water supply is not abundant .
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 1995 ** 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).
Purslane is a wild salad that’s full of flavour and nutritional benefits. High in iron, Omega 3 and provitamin A, a purslane salad is a rich source of benefits for everyone, young and less young.
Purslane is high in magnesium, for neuromuscular equilibrium, high in iron, for cell respiration and muscle strength, and high in vitamins and essential fatty acids . Purslane is an ideal salad ingredient for women and young girls, who are often deficient in magnesium because they avoid eating bread and dried vegetables. A bowl of purslane is enough to provide a third of your daily magnesium requirement and has exceptional nutritional density. Make the most of the season and treat yourself!