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purslane

Pronunciation: [PERS-lin (layn)]

This succulent is a native of India and the Middle East and now grows readily elsewhere, including Europe and Asia, where it's enthusiastically consumed. In America's recent history, purslane has more often than not been viewed as a weed, though this was not always the case. Its reputation is now changing, however, because of purslane's nutritional content. Not only is it a good source of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin and vitamins A, B and C, but and it contains more of the essential fatty acid Omega-3 than most other plants. Purslane has round, smooth, reddish stems and small, oblong, green leaves. The stems and leaves can be eaten raw in salads, cooked briefly and used as a green, or added to soups. Purslane has a mild, fresh flavor with a slightly tart, citrusy character. Cultivated purslane is available primarily in the summer, typically at produce markets and farmer's markets. Purslane is also called little hogweed, pigweed, pusley, verdolaga and vertolaga.