~ Miners Lettuce ~
Miners Lettuce is back!! This winter beauty which makes the scrummiest salad ingredient loves the cold wet, weather, and can be found growing abundantly all winter...
(Claytonia perfoliata), aka ‘Spring Beauty’, ‘Winter Purslane’ – related closley to it’s Summer relative Purslane, and ‘Poor Man’s Lettuce’.
The name "Miner's Lettuce” comes from California, where back in the mid 1840's during the gold rush, the miners found an abundance of it growing in the foothills where they were mining. It became a highly valued food source for them given the lack of fresh greens and uncertain food supply in the often rapidly established towns. It was prized by the miners for it's nutritional values, especially Vitamin C to prevent scurvy.
Miners Lettuce self seeds prolifically and once it’s in the garden/a wild patch, it will pop up every winter, year after year, providing salad greens all winter long.
This is a really delicious salad green, soft yet crunchy & juicy, making an excellent winter lettuce substitute. Use it just like lettuce, in salads. You can cook it, but it wilts and looses it’s beautiful, fresh qualities. The above ground parts of the plant are edible.
Miners lettuce is a great source of Vitamins A & C, contains iron, beta-carotene, is high in chlorophyll, & full of antioxidant-rich nutrients. Apparently, every 100 grams of miner's lettuce contains 33.3% of the daily recommendation for vitamin C, 22% the vitamin A, and 10% of the iron.
The leaves are mildly laxative and were used by the Native Americans for this purpose. The leaves can be used to cleanse the body / as a Spring detox due to it’s diuretic properties. It can filter the blood & lymph systems, whilst the antioxidant rich nutrients detoxify the liver and help to eliminate environmental toxins and heavy metals from the body. You might like to add Miners lettuce to a smoothie/fresh juice for this purpose.
Miners lettuce can also be made into a poultice and applied to rheumatic joints. The juice from the stems can be used to treat eye infections.
You'll learn about Miners lettuce in my Wet Season Foraging Guide.
p.s. if you don't have this growing near you, it's really easy to find seeds for Miners Lettuce online. Just flick them into your garden and you'll have an abundance growing back year after year, keeping you well fed and nourished throughout winter.