Wild Edible Of The Month: Miners Lettuce
Common Name: Miner’s Lettuce
Latin Name: Claytonia perfoliata
Description: Miner’s lettuce is an annual plant that usually pops its head out in early spring. It is light green in color, and has round, disk-like leaves, which surround its smooth, tender stem. This stem, which passes directly through the round leaf, is a key identifier of Miner’s Lettuce. After the plant has bloomed, one can observe a small white or pinkish color flower growing on top of its rounded leaves. Miner’s Lettuce ranges in height from 1 to 12 inches and may have anywhere from 1 to 25+ stems growing out of a single root.
Habitat: Miner’s Lettuce grows from Alaska down the west coast to Baja California and east to Arizona, Utah, Colorado Wyoming, and the Dakotas. It prefers cool, moist places, which means that it is most abundant in areas where there is shade. It can group up to 6,000 ft above sea level.
Food: The whole plant can be eaten raw in salads or as a trail nibble! Miner’s lettuce is very mild, tender, and most of all delicious!
Nutrition: Rich in vitamin “C” which was used by early settlers to fight off scurvy! Also contains trace minerals.
Recipe: Miner’s Lettuce Salad
4 cups of miner’s lettuce (chop every part of plant)
½ cup of basil (leaves pulled from the stem and used whole)
¼ cup of dried tomatoes (re-hydrated for 15 minutes)
¼ cup pine nuts
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon of sea salt
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Decorate with edible flower and enjoy!