Purslane Anyone?--UPDATED

Maybe you call it suberi-hiyu, verdolaga, or gelang pasir. Either way this tangy green plant is quite the global sensation. New York Times reporter Marlena Spieler explains:
From Provence to Greece, Turkey to Kuala Lumpur, Mexico to Galilee, purslane is gathered in the wild and sold at local farmers' markets under many names.

In Mexico and California, verdolaga is eaten with pork and tomatillos; at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco, Steve Sando, owner of Rancho Gordo New World Specialty Food in Napa, tucks a few whole stems into his big fat carnitas and tomatillo tamal. Farmers in Provence sell pourpier in wild mesclun. In Greece, little old ladies forage from field to field hunting glistrida, and in Turkey semizotu is mixed with garlicky yogurt and chopped into fetching salads with ripe tomatoes. In Galilee I was told that "regelah" was delicious in salads — regelah being Hebrew for foot, since purslane is a plant typically found right at your feet. A Russian émigré shared a recipe for portulak in zesty potato salad.

On a trip to Malaysia I found gelang pasir eaten raw, dipped into spicy fish-chili paste, or cut up into nasi ulam, a turmeric-tinted rice salad. Purslane makes Lebanon's classic tabbouleh and fattoush even zippier. In Sri Lanka it's stir-fried with chilies and fish, while suberi-hiyu is pickled in Japanese villages, to eat in the winter, alongside rice.
Not only is purslane a culinary dynamo, but it packs a nutrient-rich wallop too:
In addition to tastiness, there is another reason to eat purslane. Research has shown it to be high in many vitamins and antioxidants. In some of the first medical research on purslane, Dr. Artemis P. Simopoulos wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1986 that it has remarkably high levels of alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 essential fatty acid) for something that's not a fish. Since then, purslane has been found to have high amounts of melatonin and other beneficial nutrients.
Do we have any purslane eaters out there? If so let us know where you buy it, leave a comment or email us at diseaseproof@gmail.com.

UPDATE: We recently got tipped off to Johnny's Selected Seeds, if you've got a green thumb you can order purslane seeds here: Red and Golden Purslane
Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Comments (11) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Helena - July 7, 2006 4:54 PM

I love purslane! It is a delicious addition to salads. I buy it in a whole foods store.

Linda - July 10, 2006 7:56 PM

I've been trying to find this for about a year now :(. I haven't seen it in any markets I've been to in the L.A. area.
Haven't even found a Farmers market selling it...
Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to grow my own right now. I hope it shows up soon!

Kenny Point - July 11, 2006 9:45 AM

Sure you can grow purslane or purchase it at gourmet markets, but it's almost not worth the effort. Learn to identify this edible weed and you may discover it growing all over your own backyard and garden. Nothing beats harvesting delicious and nutritious wild greens like purslane and lambs quarters that are free for the picking. You may even find a gardener out there willing to pay you for "disposing" of what they consider to be nothing more than a worthless weed.

Linda - July 11, 2006 6:27 PM

That would be nice if I had a garden or even a yard.

May be worth looking up, though, just in case I ever come across it somewhere.

John - July 13, 2006 12:53 PM

Kenny is right that wild purslane grows abundantly, and most gardeners consider it an undesirable weed. Also, that you can, rather easily, harvest lots of it and enjoy it. But having grown the Golden cultivar, I can testify that it is *way* tastier and more succulent. If you have a garden space, I highly recommend trying it. You'll only have to get the seed once. Give it half a chance and it will self-seed after the first year.

Eric K. Washington - April 3, 2008 11:25 AM

Here in New York City the commercial quest for purslane is frustrating. A few years ago I bought it regularly in Washington Heights at an experimental farmer's market that vanished after a season. On the other hand, purslane-sighting counts among the small serendipities that make urbanites grin from ear to ear. I've found it growing in the oddest public spaces--poking thirty feet above street level through the poured cement of the 125th Street elevated subway platform, through a breach in the retaining wall of a Harlem community garden, and as far afield as Paris between the ties of the abandoned "Petite Ceinture" railway tracks. But for convenience I've just ordered a packet of seeds.

Daniel Salas - October 14, 2009 12:53 AM

What is the best way to keep purslane for as long as possible without spoiling? Freezer,fridge,in water,or cooking?

Ms Vesna Luketic - February 24, 2010 7:23 AM

I want to buy Purslane seed wholesale.
I have 100 acres of land and I want to grow purslane for my free range chickens. www.freerangeeggs.com.au

Dan and Char Williams - July 17, 2010 1:54 PM

We have purselane growing in our garden but it has powdery white/tan spots all over it that do not rub off easily. Can any one tell us what this is?

elsa - August 1, 2010 6:40 PM

Dan - I've got the same thing happening to mine and found this page via a search for answers. Here's what I've got in case you haven't found it yet:


ELSA - August 19, 2010 8:48 AM


Post A Comment / Question Use this form to add a comment to this entry.

Remember personal info?