Vitamins and minerals: purslane & chicories

Purslane is an excellent source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids and beta-carotene, while Chicories are an excellent source of Fiber and Potassium.

purslane.didyouknow.minerals.vitamins.saynotofoodwaste

As the holidays are coming to a close, New Year’s Resolutions are on the top of most everyone’s list. Do you make resolutions? If yes, what is (are) your New Year’s Resolution(s)?

Mine are: to try something new as often as possible, whether it is food, learning, connecting, or…. not wasting. My goal is to explore, to put my curiosity hat on, to engage and learn. Part of that will be trying new foods, learning about food and cultures, and trying new recipes; and another part will be making a conscious effort to not waste – not just food but packaging too. I am excited, because there are so many foods and cultures to explore.

DID YOU KNOW?! “Purslane is native to India and Persia and has spread throughout the world as an edible plant, and as a weed. Many cultures embrace purslane as a food while others see it as a weed.

Purslane has fleshy succulent leaves and stems with yellow flowers.”

“It is common in our yards but little known in the North American kitchen. It can grow anywhere that has at least a two-month growing season. Common purslane (Portulaca oleracea) — also known as duckweed, fatweed, pursley, pussley, verdolagas and wild portulaca — is the most frequently reported “weed” species in the world.

Purslane is both delicious and exceptionally nutritious. Until recently, most research on purslane focused on its eradication. Yet, a frequently overlooked approach to controlling this weed is to eat it!

It is somewhat crunchy and has a slight lemony taste. Some people liken it to watercress or spinach, and it can substitute for spinach in many recipes. Young, raw leaves and stems are tender and are good in salads and sandwiches. They can also be lightly steamed or stir-fried.

Purslane’s high level of pectin (known to lower cholesterol) thickens soups and stews.

You can also use purslane in pesto.

Throw basil and purslane (upper stems and all) into a blender or food processor, add a small amount of olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and enough hot water to get a good consistency. Because it’s so juicy, purslane helps create a low-fat pesto without too much oil.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Purslane is packed with vitamins and minerals.

“Purslane may be a common plant, and in spite of the fact that the U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies purslane (portulaca oleracea) as a “noxious weed,” it really packs a nutritional punch, with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), of any green plant.” “It also tops the list of plants high in vitamin E, providing six times more vitamin E than spinach, and has seven times more beta carotene than carrots. It’s also rich in vitamin C, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorus.

Omega-3s are a class of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. Your body cannot manufacture essential fatty acids, so you must get them from food. Unfortunately, the typical American diet contains too few omega-3s, a shortage that is linked to a barrage of illnesses including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.”

“The human body converts beta carotene into vitamin A (retinol) – beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision.”

“Purslane is also a natural source of melatonin, dietary fibers, provides B-complex vitamins and the minerals iron and calcium. It is very low in calories – only 16 in a 3.5 ounce serving, which makes it one of the most nutrient-dense foods we know.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Purslane provides 13.5% of the daily electrolytes our bodies need.

Electrolytes:
Sodium        
  45 mg          3%
Potassium    
494 mg      10.5% 

DID YOU KNOW?! Purslane can help with weight loss and skin care.

“Research suggests that purslane is very low in calories, but is nutrient-rich and packed with high dietary fiber. This means that people can feel full after a meal of purslane, without significantly increasing calorie intake, and thereby helping them lose weight and maintain the diet.”

“Purslane can help treat a wide variety of skin conditions as well. A study published in 2004 revealed that purslane leaves contain high levels of vitamin A. Vitamin A, combined with the cocktail of compounds found in this ‘weed’ mean that it can help reduce inflammation caused by bee stings and snake bites when applied topically. It improves skin health and appearance, reduces wrinkles, and stimulates the healing of skin cells to remove scars and blemishes when consumed.”

If you are interested in adding Purslane to your diet, here are some recipes: https://cnz.to/ingredients-fine-foods/45-things-to-do-with-purslane /  and https://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/wild-purslane-salad-with-olive-oil-and-lemon-dressing-380139

Also, here is some information on growing your own: https://www.hobbyfarms.com/6-tips-for-growing-purslane-on-purpose/ and https://balconygardenweb.com/edible-weed-purslane-benefits-how-to-grow-purslane-in-containers/.

In 2019, this is a food that will be added to my plate and I look forward to sharing our food journeys with this leafy green!

DID YOU KNOW?! “Chicories are closely related to lettuces, but heartier and with a bitter edge. Cool weather crops that come into season in late fall (and last in temperate climates through early spring), chicories provide a lot of flavor to seasonal fall and winter meals. They include Belgian endive (regular and red), curly endive, escarole, and radicchio (regular, speckled and Treviso).”

DID YOU KNOW?! Chicory has a blue flower that is cultivated for its edible salad leaves and carrot-shaped root.

“Native to several parts of Europe where it’s been commonly used in salads, witloof of chicory, a Dutch translation of “white leaf,” denotes tightly curled leaves force-grown in darkness to encourage paler, more tender foliage. Radicchio, another relative, is the red-leafed variety. Transported to the Americas, chicory now grows so prolifically that it’s a common sight along roadside ditches and in meadows, recognizable by its soft blue flower.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Chicory is used in coffee.

“Chicory is a blue-flowered plant in the dandelion family, and its roots have been cultivated and used for food and medicine as far back as ancient Egypt.

Though when people 1st began mixing coffee with chicory is unclear, the use of chicory in coffee became particularly popular in 19th century France after Napoleon initiated the “Continental Blockade.” This trade blockade caused a major coffee shortage in France, so to make their limited supplies of coffee stretch, the French began roasting, grinding and mixing chicory root with coffee.

Though chicory root lacks caffeine, it was widely available at the time and shares similar flavor to coffee when roasted.

After the embargo was lifted in 1814, the use of chicory as a coffee additive continued to grow throughout France and its areas of influence, like the French-founded city of New Orleans. By 1860, France was exporting 16 million pounds of chicory.

However, it wasn’t until the American Civil War that coffee and chicory became truly popular stateside. When Union naval blockades cut off the port of New Orleans, one of the largest importers of coffee in the US at the time, desperate Louisianans began mixing chicory with coffee to stretch out their supply. Even after coffee became readily available again, the practice stuck, giving way to a favorite New Orleans Tradition.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Chicories are good for you.

“While it’s doubtful that one person would ingest an entire chicory root in one sitting, the nutritional profile above indicates what the benefits would be from a single cup. A two-ounce chunk of chicory root, for instance, provides about four percent of the daily value for fiber, which has a natural diuretic and laxative effect on the body.

Chicory is blessed with small amounts of nearly every essential vitamin. At seven percent of the daily value for each, selenium and manganese are two of the main ones. The former helps regulate thyroid hormones and the immune system, while the latter supports the formation of healthy bones, tissues, and sex hormones. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) maintains normal blood sugar levels and nerves. The potassium is essential for optimum kidney function, phosphorus metabolizes proteins, sugar, and calcium, and vitamin C fights infection.

Chicory roots contain oligosaccharide-enriched inulin, a prebiotic vital to the immune system that stimulates the growth and activity of probiotics, which in turn improve digestive health by preventing digestive flora imbalances to encourage healthy elimination. Oligosaccharides are present in only a few sources: breast milk, for one, as well as Jerusalem artichokes, onions, leeks, garlic, legumes, and bananas.

Having so many nutrients in the roots, it’s no surprise that chicory leaves also possess healing properties, as well as add a mild-to-peppery flavor to salads. They’re low in calories and a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C and B9, very similar to the roots.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Chicory has fiber and can help with weight loss.

“Chicory is a good source of oligofructose, and inulin itself is a form of natural dietary fiber, which helps in the management of weight by promoting weight loss. Both of these aid in the regulation of ghrelin, an amino acid primarily associated with feelings of hunger and food-seeking behavior. A 2012 report published in the Obesity Research Banner cited a study involving rats to study the impact of chicory in the entire weight loss process. It was concluded that by reducing the amount of the ghrelin, chicory can reduce the chances of overeating and promote satiety or the feeling of fullness, thus helping in weight loss.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Chicories provide 12% of our daily electrolytes our bodies need.

If you are interested in adding chicories to your diet, here are some recipes: https://www.foodandwine.com/vegetables/greens/ways-to-use-chicory or https://anitalianinmykitchen.com/sauteed-chicory/ or https://www.bbc.com/food/chicory.

If you are interested in growing one of the 7 varieties of chicory and/or chicory root, check out: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-chicory-35313.html or https://www.localharvest.org/blog/48630/entry/how_to_grow_and_the or https://home.howstuffworks.com/chicory1.htm.

2019 will be a year of firsts and chicories will be another addition to my plate and garden. Please share your firsts and/or new foods or recipes you tried. I am looking forward to hearing from you!

Until next time, happy eating!

Hugs,
Elizabeth


References: 

1. https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/homeowners/030726.html
2. https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/power-packed-purslane-zmaz05amzsel and https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/purslane.html
3. https://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/herbs/powers-of-purslane/
4. https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/power-packed-purslane-zmaz05amzsel
5. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252758.php
6. http://www.softschools.com/facts/vegetables/common_purslane_facts/2773/
7. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/purslane.html and  http://fshs.org/proceedings-o/1987-vol-100/195-197%20%28KESDEN%29.pdf
8. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/purslane.html and https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/81075
9. https://www.thespruceeats.com/types-of-chicories-4040928
10. https://foodfacts.mercola.com/chicory.html
11. https://www.communitycoffee.com/blog/detail/the-history-of-coffee-chicory and https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/chicory-coffee-mix-new-orleans-made-own-comes-180949950/
12. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-chicory.html and https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-92/chicory
13. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1038/oby.2005.117
14. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/chicory-greens.html

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