The Spring brings so many yummy greens that we shouldn't be afraid to eat. Take the time to identify some of them so you can enjoy this free and nutritious bounty that the land has to offer. One of my favorites, Miner's Lettuce is rich in vitamins A and C plus many trace minerals. I find this gem yummy, juicy and pleasant to eat.
Miner's Lettuce, also known as Claytonia perfoliata, winter purslane, spring beauty or Indian lettuce, gets its name from the California gold rush miners who often ate it to help prevent scurvy. It's native to the western mountains and coastal regions of North America but is most common here in California in the northern San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys.
Miners lettuce sprouts in the Spring and usually prefers cool and damp conditions. I usually spot it first in sunlit areas after the first heavy rains. The most prevalent abound in shaded areas and can last into the early summer. Much like most lettuce varieties, they tend to dry out and die back from summer heat.
It can be eaten as a leaf vegetable like any other green or lettuce. I like to eat it raw while Spring gardening or in salads. It can be substituted for spinach which it resembles in taste as well.
If you live where this plant grows, I encourage you to hunt for some Miner's Lettuce for your own salad bowl or soup pot. It's a tasty seasonal treat and you will enjoy both the picking and the eating of it.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.
Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.
Jessica Morgan, M.H.