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An ode to purslane--a tasty green!


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An ode to purslane--a tasty green!

fotaq | Jul 7, 2002 03:59 AM

Who doesn’t want to eat a new green? Try purslane! It's a sweet and delicious shrub with (somewhat) thick small leaves. It's a great green that I like to eat raw as a salad (the leaves and thinner stalks). Olive oil and lemon is all the dressing it needs. It can also be sautéed like spinach.
I was searching a long time for this wonderful green since first eating it in Cypress (it is also enjoyed on some Greek islands and in the Middle East). Purslane grows as a weed in much of America (so I've read) but isn't eaten much and is difficult to find in stores.
Here's the secret: you can get it in many Mexican stores as Verdolaga. Al least two Mexican stores in Astoria sell it: 1) Under the N tracks South of Broadway just past the McDonalds on the left, and 2) off Broadway East of Steinway just before the library (43rd St?) on the right. The purslane at the second store is prepackaged and I've found of better quality. But they have a limited amount. The first store (despite it's lesser quality verdolaga) is actually a better store with more room to move around and look at things and they also sell fresh juice.
I think all purslane around here is imported from Mexico. So it is somewhat seasonal (not in the winter because it would freeze during shipping). It also does not keep that well, so you may have to jettison a good chuck of the leaves before putting it in a salad.
In Spanish purslane is called verdolaga. In Greek, it's Glistritha or (more colloquially) Anthrakla (a charming onomatopoeic word based, I was told, on the sound that donkeys make when they eat it). But I’ve never seen it sold by a Greek green grocer.
Does anybody else know where else to buy purslane (or the addresses of the above stores)? Can I grow it? Any there other good ways to eat it? I love the stuff. Hopefully if more people catch on, it will be easier to find and eat.

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