Since we are going to live on our preps for a month, I figure this is a good time to eat a few wild plants. A friend reminded me that at this time of the year the wild mustard and miner lettuce are starting to become available. I have written about wild mustard before so today’s post is on miners lettuce.
Miner’s lettuce, Winter Purslane, Spring Beauty, or Indian lettuce; is a fleshy annual plant native to the western mountain and coastal regions of North America from southernmost Alaska and central British Columbia south, but is most common in Northern California. Miner’s lettuce is one of the very few foods native to North America that we commonly eat.
It’s composed of thin, succulent lemon lime stems that support kelly green colored basal leaves. They can be range from 1 inch to 20 inches in height. The flavor is crunchy, mild and sweet. At its height of maturity, miner’s lettuce produces numerous edible flowers from its stems. The roots are also edible raw or boiled.
Miner’s lettuce has large leaves, remains tender even when in flower, and loaded with vitamin C. The plant got its name because the Gold Rush miners ate it to prevent scurvy, which is caused by a Vitamin C deficiency.
According to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 100 grams of miner’s lettuce about the size of a decent salad, contains a third of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, 22 percent of the Vitamin A, and 10 percent of the iron.
Rinse freshly picked Miner’s lettuce in cold water. Drain and chill for a few hours to crisp. Combine three parts Miner’s lettuce with one part watercress and one part wild mustard and add a little fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of sugar to make a delicious salad.