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Puha, Sow Thistle

Puha, or Rauriki is a Sow Thistle from the Sonchus family, particularly Sonchus Oleraceous.
With the current flush of Spring greens there's lots of luscious young Puha out and about. While this plant grows all year round, it's now that you'll find the freshest, most tender young stalks.
I love puha young, when it's soft & tender, before it gets big, flowers, and becomes more bitter. It has a tasty, crunchy, lettuce like flavor. I use the young leaves raw in salads, or older, larger leaves like spinach.
Puha & Sow Thistles are from the same family as the Dandelions, the Asteraceae family. Puha shares many nutritional & medicinal properties with Dandelion. Also interestingly, all thistles are actually edible, it's just a matter of how you prepare them, thorns, thistles and all.
Puha is an amazing superfood, containing Vitamins A, B1, B2, is high in Vitamin C, and has minerals Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Copper & Zinc.
Use 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.
If you've read my Summer Foraging Guide you'll know that this is clearly not Dandelion, which whilst a common lookalike, has very particular tell tale signs to differentiate between the two.

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