In perfect time for Valentine's Day, Miner's Lettuce, one of our favorite heart-shaped greens, is coming into season.
Claytonia perfoliata (aka Miner's lettuce, Winter purslane, Spring Beauty or Indian lettuce) is a fleshy annual plant native to the western mountain and coastal regions of North America and very common throughout the Bay Area.
Miner's lettuce prefers cool, damp conditions and usually begins to pop up in late winter or early spring. It first appears in sunlit areas after the first heavy rains, but the best of the greens are found in shaded areas, especially in the uplands, into early summer.
The common name Miner's lettuce is reference to the California Gold Rush miners who ate the vitamin c-rich green to prevent scurvy. Similar in taste and texture to spinach, Miner's lettuce can be eaten as a leaf vegetable, raw in salads or boiled, steamed or cooked in the same manner as any other green.
We'll be foraging this delicious wild green at the ranch for the next few weeks and sending it down to our San Francisco Ferry Building shop when available. Try it with a little salt and our extra virgin olive oil. Let us know what you think!