Puha, or Rauriki is a Sow Thistle from the Sonchus family.
It's popping up all over my garden at the moment. It's not quite spring greens season, however after leaving all of my Puha to self seed this Summer & Autumn, there are lots of tender young babies scattered around the garden now.
I love puha young, when it's soft & tender, before it gets big, flowers, and becomes bitter. It has a tasty, crunchy, lettuce like flavor. I use the young leaves raw in salads, or older, larger leaves like spinach. Tonight it's being added to an all day simmering stew.
Puha & Sow Thistles are from the same family as the Dandelions, the Asteraceae family. Puha shares many nutritional & medicinal properties with Dandelion.
It contains Vitamins A, B1, B2, is high in Vitamin C, and has minerals Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Copper & Zinc.
Puha can be used as a nutritive tonic (especially during or after sickness), it has blood purifying properties, it's bitter properties can stimulate the digestive system, relieve constipation, whilst also supporting the liver & kidneys. The iron content makes it good for anaemia, and the Vitamin C content is the reason why Captain Cook fed Puha to his crew to ward off scurvy.
You'll find Puha featuring in many classic recipes such as boil up.
Available year round, keep your eyes peeled for it in wild, abandoned places.