Sunday, 20 June 2010

A follow-up post

Thanks to my knowledgeable blogger friends I'm starting to understand the excitement of discovering edible plants (I will no longer refer to them as weeds) in my garden.

I knew that this was semizoto in Turkish but I didn't know until today that it was called purslane.  I've been googling for more information and have come across a website containing recipes.  I know how to use it the Turkish way but it's wonderful to find more ways to use this remarkable plant.

It is truly remarkable.  I've copied the first paragraph from this website as follows:

"Think of it as a weed, and you'll be missing out on one of the most nutritious greens on the planet. Purslane has more beta-carotene than spinach*, as well as high levels of magnesium and potassium. Historically it has been used as a remedy for arthritis and inflammation by European cultures. Chinese herbalists found similar benefits, using it in respiratory and circulatory function. Recently, it's been found that purslane has alpha linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. Researchers see evidence that these substances lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as make the blood less likely to form clots. And, purslane has only 15 calories per 100 g portion".

Isn't that amazing?  And to think I was digging it up last year and throwing it on a heap until my neighbour told me I could eat it.  I still didn't bother and Mr Ayak cleared a whole area of it last week.  Not to worry though, the garden is awash with it, so there is enough to keep us going!

If you're interested the website with recipes is here.

I'm also delighted to discover fennel growing too.  I've had a couple of goes at tasting and smelling it, because I was uncertain whether it was fennel or Tansy.  But now I'm pretty sure it's fennel..

It's the custom amongst Turkish women when they are baking to give neighbours a dish of whatever they have produced.   Then when you return the dish it's customary to put something on it that you have made.  It's really not the done thing to return an empty dish.  Last night I gave Şevke a plate of choc chip and peach muffins that I baked yesterday, and she has just returned the dish which is now full of dolma.  These are stuffed vegetables.  She has given me stuffed tomatoes, vine leaves, peppers and courgette flowers. Delicious!

I also gave her about 2 kilos of aubergines  this morning. Mr Ayak always forgets that I don't really like aubergines, so I wanted them to be used by someone while they're still fresh so she has also given me a dish of her wonderful olives seeped in olive oil.  I love olives and have tried many varieties over the years but I have never ever tasted any so wonderful as those that Şevke produces.

As you can see from the last couple of posts I now have food coming out of my ears.  I can't even give it away without getting even more in return!

I'm not complaining...but I may well be gaining some excess weight in the near future!


  1. I love the idea of giving your neighbours a bit of what you've just made and then getting something back in return....very civilised!!


    C x

  2. Carol...yes it is a nice idea isn't it? Oh I drool over olives too ...mmm

  3. I've known purslane since early childhood. It's a common vegetable in my home country (NL) though somewhat old-fashioned.I have a sneaking suspicion that "the younger generation" doesn't even know it! Funnily enough one of the other blogs I follow wrote about it about a month ago. In case you're interested:

  4. Bibi: Hi and welcome. The younger generation don't know what they're missing!
    Thanks for the link..I'll go and have a look xx


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