Friday, August 17, 2012

Gandhi's Favorite Food

 Purslane: weed or superfood?

Purslane in Ginsberg Garden

Popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi's favorite food, Purslane is a succulent, low growing plant that grows as a weed all over the world. This year, purslane has invaded the Ginsberg Garden and is in the running for the most populous weed in our garden.

These sour, juicy leaves have the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids found on earth, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In the U.S. it is commonly thought that the ocean, specifically seafood and fish oil are the only sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, but purslane is eaten commonly in other parts of the world. Omega-3 fatty acids aid in many bodily functions, reduce inflammation, help out the heart, and boost the immune system! In addition to fatty acids, purslane is also pumped up with a slew of antioxidants and vitamins.

According to the New York Times, purslane is popular among fancy NYC chefs, who prepare it with various vinaigrettes and serve it with goat cheese, nectarines, heirloom tomatoes, pates, and other salads. 
If you are not a five-star NYC chef, then check out the recipes below, learn how to prepare this nutritious weed, and impress your friends!

Try adding a crunch to your normal salads and sandwhiches with some fresh purslane. It can also be sauteed lightly in olive oil or butter.

Pickled Green Purslane

 2-3 cups purslane, leaves and stems
 250ml water
 250ml white vinegar
 2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp kalonji seeds (look in an Indian grocery, can be substituted with caraway seeds)

Put the water, vinegar, salt and cloves garlic in a small pot and bring to a boil.
Pack the purslane in two jars.
Pour the vinegar mixture over the purslane, add the black mustard and kalonji seeds, then close the jars.
Store the jars in the refrigerator for one week before eating the pickled purslane.

Link to Recipe 

Tomato, Cucumber, Purslane Salad 
 Especially good served with grilled seafood.

1 large cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeds removed and discarded, then chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 bunch purslane, thick stems removed, leaves chopped, resulting in about 1/2 cup chopped purslane
1 minced seeded jalapeno chile pepper
2-3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl. Salt to taste.

Check out this link for a delicious sounding vegan soup with purslane: Chilled Zucchini Soup with Purslane

Come by the Ginsberg Garden and try some purslane today! Its fun to help weed when you can snack at the same time!

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