Visiting a friend for a BBQ in his back yard, I noticed some purslane on his loan next to a tree… so I said to him – hey you have Glistrida in your garden!! He looked at me as if I was crazy; he ripped it out, throws it in his dustbin complaining that he can’t get rid of this weed… well this weed in Greece we consider it therapeutic and one of the best ingredients for our salads, especially in the Cretan cuisine; So, I collected the “weed” from his garden, took it home and made some nice salad for myself and with what was left I made pickled glistrida. This made me sit in front of my computer and search for purslane in the US. This is what I found.
-Although purslane is considered a weed in the United States, it may be eaten as a leaf vegetable. It has a slightly sour and salty taste and is eaten throughout much of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Mexico. The stems, leaves and flower buds are all edible. Purslane may be used fresh as a salad, stir-fried, or cooked as spinach is, and because of its mucilaginous quality it also is suitable for soups and stews. Australian Aborigines use the seeds to make seedcakes.
Greeks, who call it andrakla (αντράκλα) or glystrida (γλυστρίδα), use the leaves and the stems with feta cheese, tomato, onion, garlic, oregano, and olive oil, add it in salads, boil it or add to casseroled chicken. In Turkey, besides being used in salads and in baked pastries, it is cooked as a vegetable similar to spinach. In Albania it is also is used as a vegetable similar to spinach, mostly simmered and served in olive oil dressing, or mixed with other ingredients as a filling for dough layers of byrek. In the south of Portugal (Alentejo), "baldroegas" are used as a soup ingredient. In Pakistan, it is known as 'Qulfa' and cooked as in stews along with lentils like spinach or in a mixed green stew.
Purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linoleic acid in particular) than any other leafy vegetable plant. Studies have found that purslane has 0.01 mg/g of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It also contains vitamins (mainly vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), ( vitamin B, carotenoids), and dietary minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. Also present are two types of beta lain alkaloid pigments, the reddish betacyanins (visible in the coloration of the stems) and the yellow betaxanthins (noticeable in the flowers and in the slight yellowish cast of the leaves).
Both of these pigment types are potent antioxidants and have been found to have antimutagenic properties in laboratory studies.
100 grams of fresh purslane leaves (about half a cup) contain 300 to 400 mg of alpha-linoleic acid. One cup (250 ml) of cooked leaves contains 90 mg of calcium, 561 mg of potassium, and more than 2,000 IUs of vitamin A.
A half-cup of purslane leaves contains as much as 910 mg of oxalate, a compound implicated in the formation of kidney stones. Cooking purslane reduces overall soluble oxalate content by 27%.
When harvested in the early morning, the leaves have ten times the malic acid content as when harvested in the late afternoon, and thus have a significantly more tangy taste.
"It's a miracle plant," said Dr. Artemis Simopoulos, president of the Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health in Washington, who discovered while, working at the National Institutes of Health that the plant had the highest level of Omega3 fatty acids of any other green plant.
Her research was first reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in the late 1980s, but it has taken time for nutrition awareness and food culture to catch up in the United States.
Purslane sprouts from sidewalk cracks, invades gardens and earns contempt from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which classifies it as a "Noxious weed."
It also happens to be a "superfood" high in heart healthy Omega3 fatty acids and beta carotene, one tasty enough to spread, like the weed it is, to farmers' markets and fancy restaurants.
"We have all this sitting in our front yard, and we can eat it, and it's cheaper than salmon," said Joan Norman, owner of One Straw Farm in White
Norman, the One Straw Farm owner, is also working to spread the word that purslane is worth eating. “If I can sell my weeds, I'm really making money," she said.
"I think anyone who has a vegetable garden and the purslane grows as a weed in it, they should not really throw it out. They should eat it."