Miner’s lettuce!

From The Atlantic: Foraging for Miner’s Lettuce, America’s Gift to Salad.

Miner’s lettuce is pleasingly crunchy, mild-tasting, has large leaves, remains tender even when in flower, and is so loaded with vitamins it will cure scurvy. The plant got its name because the Gold Rush miners ate it to stave off the disease, which is caused by a Vitamin C deficiency; they learned this trick from the local Indians, no doubt.

According to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 100 grams of miner’s lettuce—about the size of a decent salad—contains a third of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, 22 percent of the Vitamin A, and 10 percent of the iron. Combine this with stinging nettles and you have everything you need to revive your system from a winter’s worth of heavy meats, dried grains, and roots.

All of these qualities impressed early explorers so much they saved the seeds of Claytonia perfoliata and brought them back to Europe to grow, first as a curiosity, then as a food plant. [continue]

Miner’s Lettuce appeared in my garden, unbidden but welcome. I encouraged it, and now have amazing quantities of the stuff. It’s free, it’s attractive, and it’s yummy. How cool is that?

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