Most of us, often love stories and facts behind terminologies just like I do. It’s always fun to read such stories. The greens today we are going to talk about are also the ones that came under my sight when I was watching my favorite show, The Gold Rush. I know you must be amazed how that is associated with miners’ lettuce.
Well, Don’t rush.
I’ll tell you a complete story.
The season of the greens and miners mining for Goldrush are both the same. You can catch both up in winter or early spring. Well, it’s more than that, besides the season. The miners used to eat the miner’s lettuce to prevent the scurvy disease that occurs due to deficiency of Vitamin C. Miner’s lettuce covers the third portion of your daily requirement of Vitamin C. Maybe that’s the reason behind its name “Miner’s lettuce”.
Miner’s lettuce is also named Winter Purslane, clasp leaf lettuce, Indian lettuce, and Claytonia Perfoliata. The scientific name of the miner’s lettuce is Montia perfoliata. The generic name of miner’s lettuce is the name of a botanist of the 1600s, John Clayton. And it’s a specific name, Perfoliata is given due to its perfoliate leaves.
In the United Kingdom (UK), the same plant is attributed to Spring beauty.
Let’s dig deeper into its origin and details.
Origin of Miner’s Lettuce:
The plant of Miner’s lettuce is a member of and native to the Montiaceae family. The plant can be commonly seen in wetlands where it grows and spreads rapidly and heavily. The common origins of miners’ lettuce include central America, Cuba, Alberta, Utah, South, and east Dakota, Arizona, Australia, and many other wetlands.
The Californian residents claim that as the winter or spring seasons begin, the miner’s lettuce starts spreading everywhere and fully glowing.
Appearance( color, shapes, and height) of Miner’s Lettuce:
How can you identify or recognize the miner’s lettuce herb? If you are also wondering this then let me share a sketch or layout of its appearance for your ease.
The Miner’s lettuce is generally a small herb plant that grows up to 12 inches. It’s a herbaceous, slightly succulent plant that grows on an annual basis.
Miner’s lettuce has a round big leaf that circulates the stem and is attached to the stem base. The larger leaf seems more like a curved, round disk that can lift a few more leaves or flowers on it. The smooth, tender stem passes from within the leaf. The disk-like leaf is the first thing that appears after the stem and on that leaf grows a new tiny flower that is white to pinkish in color.
The flower blossoms over the round leaf with 5 petals. It usually blossoms from February through May. Almost five to forty, white to pale pink flowers grow on the cup-like leaf. Young leaves also do appear in bright green to the reddish range and narrow to a short petiole. These young leaves are basal.
The whole plant looks very appealing and appears as a mini bouquet. The round big leaf-like green portion sticks around the stem and carries other little leaflets and beautiful tiny flowers on it.
What are the edible parts of the Miner’s lettuce?
The miner’s lettuce is a mostly consumable portion. The leaves, flowers and roots are edible. Whether you want to eat it raw or cooked, the plant serves all purposes. The young leaves are best eaten fresh and raw. While the flowers are good to be tossed in your favorite salad. The roots are best served cooked or boiled.
The leaves that grow older become a little bitter in taste in summer so they should be avoided growing in dry-hot places. And the bitter leaves should be tossed in either curry or salads.
Nutritional Value of the miner’s lettuce:
Miner’s lettuce is not just a tasty green rather it’s a beneficial source of iron, vitamin A and vitamin C.
How to grow a miner’s lettuce?
Well, growing a miner’s lettuce is not rocket science. It just needs focus, care, and a few preventive measures. Miner’s lettuce is a cool surrounding lover, so it loves wetland and can be commonly seen in wetlands where the temperature is 20 degrees Fahrenheit at least.
Before the first expected frost, you can sow the seeds for a single time harvest.
Keep sowing seeds for after every two weeks, if you are looking forward to harvesting every now and then in the miner’s lettuce season.
You can keep the game seeding in fall until early winter. Here’s what you have to do to grow one for yourself.
- Prepare the soil deeper up to 8 inches with a mix of compost comprising two fourth portions of the soil.
- Plant it preferably under partial shade. It can also survive in full sunlight, or partial. Just in warm climates, it’s better to plant miners’ lettuce in partial shade.
- Make the rows 8 inches apart. Sow seeds with ½ inches distance. The process can be easily done by using a hoe or shovel.
- The germination period of the miner’s lettuce starts after two weeks of sowing. If it has been kept watered for ½ inches within this time period.
- The plant needs watering every once or twice a week. The plant should be kept moist.
- The leaves can be harvested at any stage.
- But always remember, under-watering is better than over-watering.
How to cook miner’s lettuce?
The beauty of miner’s lettuce is that it can turn you boring casual lettuces transformed into old versions of lettuce. If you are fed up with the usual sandwiches, burgers, and salads that have the lettuce greens in them, and want to turn it more flavor then switch to miner’s lettuce.
A few well-known salad cuisines that require miner’s lettuce are “citrus, beet and miner’s salad”, especially Miner’s lettuce salad, and wild green salad with miner lettuce. You know how to toss it with salads. Right?
It’s all simple and easy. But I am always up with a secret recipe. And here is crispy miner lettuce curry which we call chutney in here.
What you have to do is to grab a few ingredients including miner’s lettuce, green chilies, salt, and seasoning for a curry. Just chop the miner’s lettuce and chilies. Put them in a frying pan with a spoon or two of oil. Let that fry to crispy and crunchy. Sprinkle salt and seasoning on top.
Here’s your dish ready to get served.
Miner’s lettuce is a great alternative for your typical lettuce greens. The greens are meant to be mingled so mingle them up and bring out your customized amazing recipe.
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