Sea purslane grows in coastal areas throughout much of the world. On Curacao it is known as banana di ref. The leaves are edible and can be eaten raw, pickled, blanched or cooked. In the rainy season the leaves are green, during a dry period the leaves turn red. They are thick and moist with a crunchy texture and a natural saltiness. Sea purslane contains lots of vitamins and minerals.
Sea purslane is at its saltiest when eaten raw. Blanching or steaming sea purslane gets rid of some of the saltiness. It only needs a short amount of cooking though. Boiling or steaming it for too long will drain it of its nutrients, as well as turning the leaves dark green, and making them taste bitter.
When cooking with sea purslane, try not to overpower it with too many other flavors. A simple pinch of black pepper, a squeeze of lemon or knob of butter works perfectly. There is no need to add any extra salt, as sea purslane is already salty enough.