Posts Tagged ‘Edible Weeds’

Purslane: Egg Purslane Tacos – Tacos de Verdolagas y Huevos

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Tacos de verdolaga purslane egg -

I’m excited you’re excited for purslane. I feel like I’m on a marketing campaign for the succulent this summer.

I confess, however, the inspiration for featuring this ingredient came from my hubby. He’s been making green smoothies this summer (adding raw kale, spinach, collards and other greens into his berry smoothies for extra nutrients). One day he asked about “purslane” and I reminded him that he’s eaten it in tacos de verdolagas.

In most Mexican cookbooks, verdolagas/purslane are mentioned in recipes with pork. But, they are also frequently eaten scrambled with eggs. That’s how I remember eating them growing up. When I told my brothers and sisters that I was writing about verdolagas – they waxed nostalgically for those tacos with verdolagas, sautéed onions, chile and scrambled eggs.

For those new to purslane, the cooked version tastes like spinach and loses its tanginess. It’s a nice earthy compliment to eggs.

When you prepare the raw purslane, make sure to use the florets and use only the tender part of the stem. The whole stem is edible, but I find the really thick stems chewy. Substitute purslane in those recipes where you’d usually have sautéed greens like spinach.

This morning we had tacos de verdolagas with a little queso fresco and salsa. They are great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a snack.

If any of you are already purslane fans, what’s your favorite way to eat it?

Tidbits on Purslane:

  1. Purslane is loaded with vitamins and minerals but for anyone watching their nitrate intake – as in spinach, don’t over do it.
  2. Its name in Malawi (a southeast African country) translates as “buttocks of the chief’s wife,” referring to the plants rounded leaves and juicy stems.


Purslane: Raw Purslane Weed Salad

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Purslane Verdolaga Weed -

Call it a weed if you want. Purslane is still good eating.

Every summer growing up, my family planted a backyard garden with tomatoes, calabacitas (zucchini), chiles, cilantro, onions and a few other standards found in most Mexican family gardens. Yet, part of the bounty we enjoyed was something we didn’t plant . . .  weeds.

We would chow down on verdolagas. You might know the weed as “purslane.”

Purslane is a long, red-stemmed succulent with fleshy oval flowers.  It grows all over the world and is eaten in many cultures – in Egypt and Sudan it is used as a medicine and as a vegetable, in France it is served with fish, in Holland it is used in winter salads, and in Mexico, it is frequently eaten with pork.

Despite this, it has a bad rap with most gardeners, who consider it an invasive weed.

Purslane is also known by some unattractive names like pigweed, Little Hogweed and pussley. Not too enticing, eh? After reading this post and its nutritional value (see Tidbits below), I hope you’ll be persuaded to try the little succulent. Know that some folks consider it a superfood.

Purslane has a mild flavor and is slightly lemony. It reminds me of nopales (cactus), without as much mucilage.

This summer as purslane grows in my garden and in the cracks of my sidewalk, I’ve allowed some areas to grow. I prefer to pick it when the stems are about 5 inches in length – the longer the stems, the tangier. On the occasions when it is longer, I discard the thick stems or at least make sure they are cut into small bite size pieces.

The recipe below is for a quick, raw salad I’ve been making this summer. It’s been a hit at several potlucks including my community garden workday. Fellow gardeners were thrilled to find a use for the “edible weed” pervading their gardens.

Hip me up to your favorite uses for purslane.

Tidbits on Purslane:

  1. Purslane has been a go to food during hot weather since before Christ. It is believed to sooth the head and cool the body.
  2. Pigs, apparently, go mad for purslane. I suspect the reason for calling it “pigweed.”
  3. Nutrition:  it’s one of the best vegetable sources of omega-3 fatty acids and some suggest it should be considered a super food. “It is a good source of Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Folate, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.”

Source:  Hints & Pinches by Eugene Walter, a mini-reference book about herbs and spices;