Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Miners Lettuce

High in Vitamin C and A
Also called Indian Lettuce
The nickname comes from the 49'er goldrush - the miners ate the plant to keep from getting scurvy.

I stirfried a bit and used as a sandwich filling --good tasting and good for you.

from Edible Seattle "Miner’s lettuce is a beginning forager’s dream: It’s easy to identify (the leaf that grows all around the stem is a dead giveaway), tastes mild and pleasant and grows abundantly like a weed. Don’t go looking for lettuce, though. “Lettuce” is an unlikely description for this small plant. Growing about 4 to 6 inches tall, each skinny petiole is topped with a succulent pea-green “bowl” or “plate” turned to the sky, a cluster of tiny pinkish-white blossom popping out through the center; young basal leaves sprout out like heart-shaped paddles. Every part—from leaf to stem to flower—of the plant is edible and unlike many wild edibles, miner’s lettuce doesn’t turn bitter when it blooms.
Once you’ve spotted miner’s lettuce, you’ll have a windfall. It grows in fairly thick stands and harvest can be quick. The wild plant also self-sows readily, so while you’re always advised to go from patch to patch when picking wild edibles, you don’t have to worry about over-picking it.
Like all lettuce, miner’s lettuce leaves can be used raw in salads. Best used fresh and tiny, the succulent leaves are fairly bland and are almost indistinguishable from other loose-leaf salads. Its taste and texture bear nothing exotic, but miner’s lettuce brings with it the fresh, wild flavor of the outdoors and has a good crunch. The delicate blossoms also make a very pretty garnish. "

If you’d rather have miner’s lettuce close and at your disposal, grow it in your home garden. It is easily domesticated and seeds are available from many vegetable seed purveyors like Johnny’s Selected Seeds (Maine) and Territorial Seed Company (Oregon).

Related names:
See the more inclusive parent record Claytonia perfoliata.
See a list of other species in the genus Claytonia found in California.

Wetlands: usually occurs in non wetlands, but occasionally found on wetlands [U.S. Fish & Wildlife Svc.]

Elevation: between 0 and 6561 feet [Calflora 2004 (m)]

Claytonia perfoliata ssp. mexicana, a dicot, is an annual herb that is native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America [Lum/Walker].

No comments: