Portulaca oleracea L.

TWO VARIETIES of this plant are found in Brazil: common purslane, with small leaves, originally from Eastern Europe, and most commonly used in cooking; and the variety with larger leaves, known as jewels of opar (Talinum paniculatum), among other names, native of America. This sprawling annual grows anywhere − even on streets and parks. But unfortunately, that does not mean the product is easily available in Brazilian markets: it is more common in the Northeast region. The succulent leaves have slightly acidic flavor and a crunchy texture, perfect for salads. If cooked, it is reminiscent of spinach, and can be used as an ingredient in soufflés, soups, fritters and stews. Fun fact: common purslane, with tiny leaves and yellow flowers, is considered an agricultural weed.