Portulaca: benefits and how to cook the ancient ‘weed’ with a thousand properties

Portulata, a spontaneous herb with a thousand properties that we can easily find in the garden and cook in delicious and nutritious recipes. Here’s how to recognize it and use it in the kitchen to enhance its properties

The purslane Portulaca oleracea ) is a herbaceous plant belonging to the family Portulacaceae. In the Italian regions it is known by different names: porcelain or oily grass in Lombardy, pigskin in Lazio and Marche, pre-pops in Abruzzo, just to name a few examples.

It was known as a medicinal plant already in ancient Egypt and its origins are probably Asian. In Arab countries and in the Mediterranean basin portulaca was cultivated since the Middle Ages. Now, unfortunately, in Italy it is considered little more than a weed or a weed in vegetable gardens and gardens by those who cannot recognize it and are not aware of its infinite beneficial properties.

Index

  • Portulaca properties
  • Use purslane in the kitchen
  • Recipes with purslane
    • Pasta with purslane and cherry tomatoes
    • Portulaca dumplings
    • Potato croquettes with purslane and peppers
    • Omelette and farifrittata with purslane
    • Pickled portulaca

Portulaca properties

Several properties are attributed to purslane:

  • purifying
  • diuretic
  • thirst quenching
  • digestive
  • anti-diabetic
  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-oxidant
  • hypoglycemic

In recent years the purslane has risen to the center of attention due to the discovery of its wealth of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids , of which it is considered a good plant source. Omega 3 fatty acids are considered useful in preventing cardiovascular disease.

In particular, it is interesting to know that 100 g of purslane leaves contain approximately 350 mg of α-linolenic acid (fatty acids belonging to the omega-3 group). Omega 3 helps to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, in favor of better blood circulation.

As a natural remedy, especially in antiquity, this weed was used in the treatment of:

  • diarrhea
  • He retched
  • acute enteritis
  • hemorrhoids
  • postpartum bleeding

It is an herb particularly dear to traditional Chinese medicine that uses it in the treatment of stomach and liver disorders.

Portulaca leaves can be used as a compress in case of:

  • insect bites
  • acne
  • eczema

Use purslane in the kitchen

The uses of purslane nowadays mainly concern the kitchen. The purslane is collected as a spontaneous herb or is grown as an aromatic herb. It is used raw especially for the preparation of salads. Portulaca is also a terrific ingredient for:

  • soups
  • soups
  • condiments
  • stuffed for ravioli and fresh pasta
  • omelettes
  • pickled preserves
  • salads of all kinds
  • fried in batter

In the “poor” Neapolitan cuisine the purslane was traditionally combined with rocket for the preparation of salads. Also in Sicilian cuisine the purslane finds space as an ingredient of summer salads, with a typical combination that includes cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.

In Roman cuisine, purslane is part of the mixture of salads and herbs that make up the mixed salad.

If you happen to pick it up, know that the seeds of the purslane can also be used to add them to the bread dough or muesli for breakfast.

Recipes with purslane

The recipes for purslane usually plan to use the leaves and more tender twigs. Raw, the purslane is used for salads, but it is also suitable for preparing dishes that require cooking, such as soups and soups.

Here are some portulaca-based recipes.

Pasta with purslane and cherry tomatoes

photo source: Az. Agr. Dr. Elena Spinsanti

Portulaca is a condiment suitable for pasta, for example to prepare a plate of penne or spaghetti . For the purslane penne in addition to the leaves of this spontaneous plant you will need a clove of garlic, tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Here the complete recipe.

Portulaca dumplings

With the clean, washed and well-drained purslane you can prepare excellent dumplings . In addition to the purslane, you will need boiled or steamed potatoes, semolina flour or cornstarch for a gluten-free version of this dish, an egg and a pinch of salt. Here the recipe to follow.

photo source

Potato croquettes with purslane and peppers

photo source: blog.giallozafferano.it

You can try to enrich your classic potato croquettes with purslane , especially with its tender and fresh sprouts. You will also need breadcrumbs, peppers, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil. Here is the recipe for purslane potato croquettes.

Omelette and farifrittata with purslane

photo source: veganblog.it

Portulaca is a classic peasant cooking ingredient to be used as an omelette filling. Those who do not eat eggs can opt for a farifrittata made from chickpea flour where the purslane will still be excellent as a filling. Here the recipe for portulaca omelette and here the recipe for portulaca farifrittata .

Pickled portulaca

photo source: herbsincucina.it

Here is an idea for storing purslane. It is a matter of preparing the pickled portulaca from fresh portulaca leaves. You can also use purslane stems. You will need white vinegar, a few cloves of garlic, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Here the recipe to follow.

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