Miner’s Lettuce

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Miners lettuce from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Miners lettuce from Stoney Plains Organic Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Miner’s lettuce (a.k.a., 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 to Central America.

It is common in the spring, and it prefers cool, damp conditions. It first appears in sunlit areas after the first heavy rains, though the best stands are found in shaded areas, especially in the uplands, into the early summer. As the days get hotter, the leaves turn a deep red color as they dry out.

The common name Miner’s lettuce refers to its use by California gold rush miners who ate it to get vitamin C to prevent scurvy. It can be eaten as a leaf vegetable. Most commonly it is eaten raw in salads, but it is not quite as delicate as other lettuces. Sometimes it is boiled like spinach, which it resembles in taste.

Miner’s lettuce is also cultivated.

For more information, go to Wikipedia.

Recipe for Simple Miner’s Lettuce Salad.

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One Response to “Miner’s Lettuce”

  1. Beer Finds its Rightful Place – At the Dining Table, Pt. 1 « The Palate Jack® Says:

    […] each of beer mustard, pickled rhubarb and a morel duxelle. The morsel was topped by spinach-like miner’s lettuce, a green in the purslane family. This plate collaborated well with several of Goose Island’s […]

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