Wild in the City: Foraging Fridays

This week:

Claytonia Perfoliata (Miner’s Lettuce, Winter Purslane, Indian Lettuce)

last week, the family went for a hike on the Land’s End trail around The California Palace of the Legion of Honor.

it is definitely one of the best urban hikes, and a one that, surprisingly, i had never been on. on our walk, i kept my eyes peeled for edibles. while i spotted several, today i thought i would feature one of my favorites…miner’s lettuce.

like the land’s end trail, miner’s lettuce is probably one that you’ve heard of, but maybe don’t know how to identify, or have never tried.

it’s common name is miner’s lettuce, because the 49er’s used it to combat scurvy, since it is high in vitamin C. they probably learned how to do this from the native americans (ohlone, pomo, among others), who’s use of the plant is well documented. as well as eating it like salad greens, indigenous peoples used the leaves for rheumatism, as a laxative (in tea) and for eyesight.

it is native to the pacific northwest, and grows prolifically. you’ve probably seen it dozens of times, and once you recognize it, you’ll see it everywhere and wonder how you hadn’t noticed it before.

HOW TO HARVEST

take your handy scissors out of your foraging bag, and snip off the leaves. remember to leave plenty of leaves (leave leaves?) so that the plant is not harmed, and to take only as much as you need.

EDIBLE PARTS

the leaves! you may be able to eat the flowers…i don’t know why you couldn’t. but i wasn’t able to find any info yay or nay. when in doubt…leave it out (of your mouth!).

DISTINCTIONS

upper leaves surround the stem, with a white (sometimes pink) 5 petaled flower atop. leaves are slightly succulent, and described as “shiny” but i think they are “sparkley”.

CAN BE FOUND

in shady, damp areas. if you ever go hiking on mt. tam, there are virtual fields of it on the cataract trail. you can also mail order it for $54 for 2lbs. (lame. step outside your door and go on an adventure. connect with source, not the UPS).

shady and moist

WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?

spinach kinda.

USES

any way you would use spinach. raw, sauteed, put in soup in the last few minutes. i found this fun video tutorial on miner’s lettuce, and they suggest using it in a green smoothy. (much of the info from this post is repeated, but i still enjoyed it):

THE DISCLAIMER

think with your stomach! do not ingest wild plants unless you are sure you have identified them correctly, and are also willing to take responsibility for using yourself as a guinea pig. i am SO not responsible if you eat the wrong thing and get poopy pants, or die. you’re an adult, you can make your own choices.

happy hunting!

(here are some other photos of the day)

this pic was a mistake. i was using jeff’s iphone to take photos, and this is often my expression when i use the dang thing. bewilderment and frustration.

mommy, daddy and the hat.

have a great weekend friends!!

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Wild in the City: Foraging Fridays

  1. This is so funny because I just discovered this stuff last weekend at a wonderful cafe where they use a lot of locally foraged/grown stuff and I loooove it. I’ve been reading up on how and when to plant it all week because it’s not something that grows in the wild. Really great to have something salady that grows in the winter and is so pretty to boot! I ate the flowers last week and I’m still alive so I’m hoping it’s ok, ha.

    1. wow, that cafe sounds amazing. there used to be a couple of places like that here, but not anymore. when i was fishing around online for info, i read that in england and europe it is sold as purslane, and is cultivated. i’m so so excited that you’re going to grow it! (containers or in the ground?). good to know about the flowers too. let me know if you start seeing spots. 😉 xo

  2. It’s wonderful, http://www.potagergardennursery.co.uk/content/potager-garden this is the place, I wish there were more like it! We were all fascinated by the stuff, because none of us had never seen it before. I just love the way it looks, so unusual and it’s tastes good too so I’m going to plant it either in pots or perhaps just cultivate it wild over in our veg patch. Sadly I’m moving out today and won’t be back until August, just missing the best part of the year for planting but I’m so excited anyway. Nobody has really used the plot in a while so I’ve been planning. xxx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s