About Verdolagas

August 19, 2006

About Verdolagas

Purslane (gourmetsleuth.com)

“I learned that a man may use as simple a diet as the animals, and yet retain health and strength. I have made a satisfactory dinner off a dish of purslane which I gathered in my corn field,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in Walden, “yet men have come to such a pass that they frequently starve, not for want of necessities, but for want of luxuries.”
Purslane is native to the Americas where it once was one of the most important wild plant foods of Native Americans.  Nowadays, Westerners consider it as an invasive weed.  Yet, its mild and nutritious characteristics are valued by many cultures.  Look for it at farmers’ markets or ethnic groceries – or harvest it from your garden!  Here and in Mexico purslane is also known as verdolagas.
Purslane is currently acclaimed for not one, but two starring attractions: the rediscovery of its cooking possibilities –its tinker-toy eye appeal, crisp texture and lightly tangy taste– and the scientific discovery of its healthful omega-3 fatty acids. If this weren’t enough, it has above average values of beta-carotene and vitamin C and provides all of these goodies with only 15 calories in a 100-gram portion (as compared with 76 in a boiled potato).  Purslane lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as makes the blood less likely to form clots. But long before these scientific finding, purslane was eaten as treatment for arthritis, inflammation and heart disease and to promote general good health.
Purslane has succulent, fleshy leaves and stems with a delicate and tangy flavor.  Both stems and leaves are eaten.  Purslane is harvested when young, before the stems turn woody.  It is used as an herb for seasoning, as fresh green to be served in salads (sprigs of purslane are perfect for salads or tucked into sandwiches or tacos). It can be chopped and folded into mayonnaise-based salads such as egg, tuna, or potato.  Cooked purslane is delicious too.  It can be sautéed or cooked into soups.

4 Responses to “About Verdolagas”

  1. Philippe Says:

    They can be pickled in apple cider vinegar in sealed canning jars, then stored in the refrigerator for a up to a year. You will find methods if you google “preserving purslane.”
    Another thing I do is to add them to canned tomato salsa.

  2. charles Youell @ Says:

    Can it be preserved &if so how?

  3. laura miramontez Says:

    I hv a beautiful garden and then all of a sudden in an empty garden planter the verdolagas just started growing. Wow they are amazing. Although you do hv to aquire a taste for them they are quite good. Now i hv all my farmers market friends coming over for cooking classes. A true blessing that they just showed up in my garden.

  4. Sara Says:

    This grew in our backyard growing up in NY. My uncle taught me that it was edible when I was a kid. I would eat it right out of the garden (where my mom considered it a weed).

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