For Vegan and Vegetarians! “Forgotten” Vegetables 23: Purslane

Organic agriculture and biodiversity have in recent years brought about a rediscovery of many “forgotten” vegetables that people especially in Europe and France conscientiously tried to forget as they reminded them of the privations suffered during WWII. The same people had then to make do with untraditional vegetables because potatoes, carrots and so on were confiscated by occupying forces or their own armies.
With sustainibility and bioagriculture made more important by the deficiencies of modern mass agriculture, those “forgotten” vegetables have suddenly come to the fore for the pleasure of all, and that of course of vegetarians and vegans!

This particular series of postings will introduce these vegetables one by one. I hope they will become useful for a long time to come to all my vegan and vegetarian friends!
1) Scorsonere/Oyster Plant, 2)Potimarron, 3) Vitelotte, 4) Rutabaga, 5) Cardon, 6) Panais/Parsnips , 7) Patisson, 8) Topinambour, 9) Crosne, 10) Cerfeuil Tubereux, 11) Poiree, 12) Oca, 13) Ulluque/Ulluco, 14) Tigernuts, 15) Capucine tubereuse-Maschua, 16) Chataigne de Terre-Great Pignut, 17) Yacon, 18) Balsamite/Costmary, 19) Sikkim Cucumber, 20) Tree Spinach, 21) Chayote, 22) Strawberry Blite

It is my new Foodbluzz Friend, Wizzy, who attracted my attention on this vegetable, being notably forgotten in the States but entertaining a groeing popularity elsewhere.
I decided to investigate further as I recently had the opportunity to taste recently in Japan!

Purslane cultivation

Portulaca oleracea (Common Purslane, also known as Verdolaga, Pigweed, Little Hogweed or Pusley), is an annual succulent in the family Portulacaceae, which can reach 40 cm in height. About 40 varieties are currently cultivated. It has an extensive old-world distribution extending from North Africa through the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent to Malesia and Australasia. The species status in the New World is uncertain: it is generally considered an exotic weed; however, there is evidence that the species was in Crawford Lake deposits (Ontario) in 1430-89, suggesting that it reached North America in the pre-Columbian era. It is naturalised elsewhere and in some regions is considered an invasive weed. It has smooth, reddish, mostly prostrate stems and alternate leaves clustered at stem joints and ends. The yellow flowers have five regular parts and are up to 6 mm wide. The flowers appear depending upon rainfall and may occur year round. The flowers open singly at the center of the leaf cluster for only a few hours on sunny mornings. Seeds are formed in a tiny pod, which opens when the seeds are ready. Purslane has a taproot with fibrous secondary roots and is able to tolerate poor, compacted soils and drought.

Although purslane is considered a weed in the United States, it can be eaten as a leaf vegetable, providing sources can be found which have not been poisoned deliberately. It has a slightly sour and salty taste and is eaten throughout much of Europe, Asia and Mexico. The stems, leaves and flower buds are all good to eat. Purslane can be used fresh as a salad, stir-fried, or cooked like spinach, and because of its mucilaginous quality it is also suitable for soups and stews. Australian Aborigines used to use the seeds to make seedcakes.

Purslane contains more Omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular) than any other leafy vegetable plant. It also contains vitamins (mainly vitamin A, vitamin C, and some vitamin B and carotenoids), as well as dietary minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron.
It also helps combat ageing as containing antioxydants.

In Greek popular medicine, purslane is used as a remedy for constipation and inflammation of the urinary system.

A common plant in parts of India, purslane is known as “Sanhti”, “Punarva”, or “Kulfa”. In North India it is known to act as a liver tonic and is used in diseases of the liver.


I n japan they are called Grapara leaves (grapara/グラパラ)
Can you see them in the middle of this vegetable sashimi served at yasaitei?


These grapara leaves are grown in Chiba Prefecture, north of Tokyo.
For people who can read Japanese, check their homepage!


Crunchy but with a juicy and tender inside, they are sweet and taste somewhat like pineapple!

Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-Cho, 1-6-2 Green Heights Wamon 1-C
Tel.: 054-2543277
Business hours: 17:30~22:00
Closed on Sundays
Reservations highly recommended
Seating: 6 at counter + 20 at tables
Set Courses: 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 yen
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Not-Just-Recipes, Bengal cuisine, Cooking Vegetarian, Frank Fariello, Gluten-free Vegan Family, Meatless Mama, Warren BobrowBreakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Punch, Kirsten’s Kitchen, Vegan Epicurean

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