Friday, 23 August 2013

Purslane (Γλυστρίδα)

I posted this photo of purslane on my facebook page without realising it would become an instant hit. I suppose it is the serene look of this wonderful weed and the way it grows wildly and spontaneously, without any help apart from some irrigation. Purslane, Portulaca oleracea (in Greek, αντράκλα - antrakla, or γλυστρίδα - glistrida) is a common edible weed in Greece during the summer months. It has long thick juicy stems and grows around tomato and zucchini plants. For those who are familiar with it, it has a light refreshing taste, and is especially good in tomato and/or potato salads.

Purlsane is an edible weed. The tiny buds produce a small yellow flower. The seeds of the plant are tiny and black - they look like fine dust. You can see them all over the worktop. 

You can use the tenderest parts (like the ones I've cut off on the left) for salad, or you can place the whole (cleaned) plant in a jar of wine vinegar with a little salt sprinkled into it, which can be used in the same way as capers or the kritamos weed (samphire). Even if you don't use it all up by next year, it will remind yo throughout the colder months of winter of the warmer months to come. Since it is renewably annually, you don't need to keep it - you'll just pickle some again more next year.

Pickled capers and pickling purslane

Although purslane grows literally everywhere and anywhere during the summer, for the last 3-4 years, it is being sold at the market these days, a sign that it is quite popular. For me, who lives in a house with a large garden, in a village, it was quite a scary sight. It made me feel that this could possibly be a sign of how busy people seem to be these days, distancing themselves from nature despite being so close to it. Then again, they may not live near a clean source of purslane, and they find it easier to pay 50-60 cents for a cute little bunch of purslane (shipped form Athens). Let's hope, for my judgmental sake, that it is the latter; you know what Greeks say about people who eat a lot of glistrida, don't you? They talk too much.

My favorite recipes for fresh purslane are: orzo pasta salad, artichoke and purslane salad, and cucumber/zucchini and purslane salad. Pickled purslane is good in tomato and potato salad.

©All Rights Reserved/Organically cooked. No part of this blog may be reproduced and/or copied by any means without prior consent from Maria Verivaki.