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Verdolaga-a nutritious and delicious vegetables

I can not believe I ignored this vegetables for years . My 1st encounter with verdolaga was many years ago when I was pulling weeds with my housekeeper. I saw her separate the creeping weed that carpeted my flower garden from the regular trash bin. I asked her what she was going to do with it and she told me she makes tea to keep her calm.
My passion for nutrition and cooking has not peaked at that time . I later found out that verdolaga, the creeping weed is not only delicous but also nutritious. The other name for verdolaga is common purslane and hogweed.You can find this weed growing in the roadside, in open fields where there is source of water and of course in your garden. Verdolaga is an herb that has oblong succulent leaves that are light green in color. It is sold in small bunches, similar to watercress. The stems and leaves are edible. Look for fresh specimens, brown leaves and limp stems is a sign that it is old.
Verdolaga is a good source of Vitamin A , C and magnesium. Recent research findings showed that verdolaga is a good source of alpha linoleic acid, a type of omega 3 fatty acid . This substance helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol level as well as prevent blood clots.
Where to buy verdolaga? You can find verdolaga in Farmers Market and small produce stands in the countryside . In the East coast check the bodegas (mom and pop ethnic grocery stores). In 0ther Metro areas check the greengrocer. I live in Los Angeles and 95% of the time I can find verdolaga in Vallarta’s produce section.
How does it taste? it is limoney,slightly acidic and tangy. Prepare by removing the dead leaves and mature stems (stems that do not break when you bend the stem) Rinse and drain. Boil water.When water boils, Turn off heat. drop the verdolagas and let stand for 1 minute. Drain in a colander. Put drained verdolaga in a salad dish, sprinkle vinaigrette dressing.Toss and enjoy. The vegetables cooks easily. You can also add it in fish stew or soups. Make sure to add it when you are ready to serve the dish, as letting the vegetables sit in a hot liquid will cause the vegetables to lose its vitamin C and the leaves will turn into an ugly brown similar to what happens to spinach when overcooked.
The weed in your garden and the cultivated ones you buy in the store differs in appearance. Store bought verdolaga grows upright, while the verdolaga in your yard are runners. Do not pick verdolagas from your garden or roadside unless you know for sure that it is verdolaga. Ask someone who knows to help you identify the weed. Do not harvest from yards that had been sprayed with pesticides, as this will cause harm to you. Verdolaga is easy to grow. I grow them during the summer. I buy a bunch and select the ones with a hard stem. I sit them in water until roots appear,then I plant them in my vegetable garden.
Until then, I will continue to search for more nutritious and delicious vegetales to share with you.

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