Miners Discovered a Tasty Superfood

Miner's lettuce

Miner’s lettuce grows in cool, moist places in early spring along the west coast.

Imagine, a nutritious, yummy green that you don’t need to water or care for, that reseeds itself and is native to this area. It shows up in profusion this time of year when we are desperate for something to add to our salad bowls that hasn’t traveled a thousand miles to get here. It’s non-invasive, easy to pull when it’s done, and makes great mulch or compost. And chickens who are lucky enough to have it around produce eggs with a deep orange yolk.

It’s miner’s lettuce, also know as winter purslane, or Claytonia perfoliata. It tastes like lettuce only earthier, and has a slightly thicker leaf, more like spinach. Some call it a superfood: vitamin C, omega fatty acids and chlorophyll assist with detoxification and blood purification, but I like it because it’s green, available and tastes fresh when most other things don’t this time of year.

Miner’s lettuce got its name from the miners of the California gold rush who used it to prevent scurvy. It grows in profusion in moist, shady spots along the west coast right down into California. It doesn’t last long unless the spring is cool and moist, so grab some while you can if you see some!

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