Purslane is a leafy green vegetable that grows all over the world. Although it is commonly considered to be a weed, it is popular in some Mediterranean--particularly Greek--cooking. It works nicely in salads when fresh, as a side dish when lightly sauteed and when tossed in soups. The National Institutes of Health have found it contains higher levels of some nutrients than the green leafy powerhouse known as spinach. Unlike traditional "greens," which don't freeze well, purslane is similar enough to an herb that it can successfully be frozen in puree form.
Things You'll Need
- Kitchen shears
- Food processor
- Ice cube tray
- Measuring spoons
- Small plastic bags
- Small freezer-safe containers
- Measuring cups
Pluck all the purslane leaves off the stems by grasping the top of a branch in one hand and sliding the thumb and forefinger of your other hand down the stem. This will rip most of the leaves off in one smooth motion.
Cut the stems into 2-inch pieces with kitchen shears. Discard the roots, as they are not edible.
Put the leaves and stem pieces in the bowl of a food processor. If you have a lot of leaves, do this in two batches to allow the food processor to do its job efficiently.
Process until the leaves and stems are chopped, as for a pesto. Result should be slightly chunky, not creamy like baby food. Drizzle in a little water if the leaves are sticking to the sides of the bowl. Purslane leaves have a lot of gooey, mucilaginous juice, which can make them a little sticky. This is why they are commonly used to thicken soups.
Measure 1 tsp. and 1 tbsp. portions of purslane puree and pack them into the segments of an ice cube tray. Freeze for later use.
Pop frozen puree cubes out of tray and quickly transfer to small plastic bags for storage in the freezer.
Pack purslane puree into a small freezer-safe containers for use in larger amounts. Depending on the recipes you intend to make, freeze the purslane puree in 1/4-, 1/2- or 1-cup portions.
Tips & Warnings
- Specialty grocery stores and health food shops may stock fresh purslane, but you will not usually find it at most supermarkets. You can, however, plant purslane in your home garden.
- Frozen purslane works well in soups, smoothies, pesto--any recipe that does not require whole leaves. Whole leaves do not freeze in a very aesthetically pleasing manner, so frozen purslane would not work in a fresh salad.
- If you are picking wild purslane, make certain what you are picking is actually purslane. Another similar garden weed called leafy spurge grows under the same conditions as purslane. Unfortunately, leafy spurge is poisonous. If the stem of the plant you are harvesting bleeds a milky white sap, that is not purslane.
- Photo Credit white plastic disposable ice tray image by Steve Johnson from Fotolia.com
How to Cook Purslane
The edible leaves of the often overlooked purslane (Portulaca oleracea) bring crunch, texture and a citrus and peppery flavor to different dishes....