Claytonia Perfoliata ¦ Winter Purslane ¦ Miner’s Lettuce

Claytonia perfoliata, Winter Purslane, 
Miner's Lettuce
Miners Lettuce, Winter Purslane or Poor Man’s Lettuce

Miners Lettuce

Well, hello there! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been neglecting you, and I’m feeling a tad guilty about that. But, unfortunately, life got in the way for a few months, what with our house refurbishment, Christmas, illnesses, etc. Caber and I have only just got out and about again on our foraging adventures, and this week we’ve been foraging for Miner’s Lettuce and Wood Sorrel. If you haven’t joined the Foragers Folly family yet, then what are you waiting for? You can subscribe here. New to foraging? Look at My Top 3 Foraging Tips.

But First

However, before I get started, how are you? I hope you’re taking care of yourself and doing everything you can to avoid the coronavirus. If you’ve lost any loved ones, my heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family. And a massive virtual hug to all frontline workers out there, working their socks off to keep us healthy, safe and well.

What have you been up to since COVID19 forced us into isolation? Come on, let me know how things are going at your side of this blog. It’s straightforward. All you have to do is scroll to the bottom of this post. You’ll see that I’ve now added my Facebook comments section, and you can share your feedback on the page. Go on, I’d love to hear from you. I promise I’ll keep today’s blog sharp and to the point as I know you have better things to do with your time at the moment. That said, if you can get out for your hour of exercise each day, then you may want to look out for winter purslane.

Winter Purslane

Claytonia perfoliata, Winter Purslane,  Miner's Lettuce

Winter Purslane (Claytonia perfoliata). Not unlike the rest of the plant world, you’re more likely to know this crafty little wild plant under another name. Such as Winter Purslane, Miner’s Green, Poor Man’s Lettuce, Indian Lettuce, Spring Beauty, and Miner’s Lettuce. If you’d like to find out how to identify the plant, then click here to find out more.

Miner’s Lettuce is a perennial plant. And when you’re out and about, you’ll find it hiding in partially shaded areas, waste grounds, woodland or near beaches. I forage for it in a patch near the beach when I take Caber for his walks.

All parts of the plant are edible. However, I recommend you only eat it raw. When cooked it takes on a mucus texture which isn’t that pleasant, that’s why it’s perfect in salads. As expected from a vegetable, winter purslane is rich in vitamin C, but watch out as the leaves have a gentle laxative effect. So don’t be eating too much at once! The upside, though, is that it’s also bursting with these lovely minerals: iron, magnesium and calcium.

Did You Know?

  • Claytonia perfoliata journeyed to the UK via Cuba, the home of its origins.
  • Following its prolific spread throughout America, Indigenous Americans used it not just for food, but also for their health.
  • They used a poultice of ground leaves for their rheumatic pain and eye infections.
  • It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids (or ALA), which act as an anti-inflammatory. 
  • The nomenclature “Miner’s Lettuce” originates from the gold rush miners of America. Native Americans introduced the miners to the plant as a means of food when times were tough.

So there we have it, I said I wouldn’t make this a long post, and I’ve kept to my word! You’ll find two easy to make recipes below. Share your pics on my Facebook page if you give them a go. And if you don’t want to miss a post, you know what you have to do, subscribe here! In the meantime, happy foraging, stay safe and take care.

Recipes

Winter Purslane
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Miner’s Lettuce with Aubergine & Chickpea Balls Served with Rosemary & Garlic Oil

A lovely, light Spring/Summer snack or served as a starter.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Cuisine: European
Keyword: Aubergine, Miner’s Lettuce, Rosemary Oil, Wild Garlic Salt, Winter Purslane
Servings: 4 people
Author: Foragers Folly
Cost: £2.50

Equipment

  • Small Pan, Oven Tray, Small Bowl, Large Bowl, Serving Plate

Ingredients

Aubergine & Chickpea Balls

  • 2 aubergines
  • 175 g washed winter purslane leaves
  • 1 tin cooked chickpeas (225g)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 pinch chilli powder
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 pinch pepper

Rosemary & Garlic Oil

  • 4 sprigs finely chopped rosemary leaves (remove from stem)
  • 2 gloves finely chopped garlic
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fruit vinegar (cider, blackberry, blueberry or any fruit vinegar)
  • 1 pinch salt

Instructions

Rosemary & Garlic Oil

  • In a small pan, sauté the rosemary and garlic on a gentle heat in 1 tbsp of the olive oil for about 5 minutes or until well done but not brown. Leave to cool.
  • Put the vinegar and remaining olive oil in a small serving bowl. Add the rosemary and garlic. Season with salt to taste.

Aubergine & Chickpea Balls

  • Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
  • Prick the aubergines with a fork and bake for 1 hour or until the skin is shriveled.
  • Put the chickpeas in a large bowl.
  • Peel the skin off the aubergine and add the flesh to the chickpeas and mix well with a fork.
  • Season with the coriander, paprika, chilli powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Spread the miner’s lettuce evenly on a board or clean flat surface.
  • Roll chickpea mixture into small balls (about the size of a ping pong ball) and roll in the miner’s lettuce leaves.
  • Arrange the balls on a serving plate and serve with the rosemary-garlic oil.
Winter Purslane Salad

Blackberries – Recipes | Remedies | Folklore

Blackberry Bush

Hello and welcome to my post on the bodacious blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), also known as a bramble, and a member of the rose family. I have to admit that this delicious berry has an abundance of remarkable properties that surprised me. However, now that I know that bit more, it would be selfish of me not to share! So, let’s start by looking at the folklore behind the berry, which is always my favourite part of my research.

Blackberry Folklore

According to folklore, St Michael cast the devil out of heaven. Unfortunately, much to his chagrin, and somewhat painfully, the devil had the misfortune to land on a bramble bush! Following his rather abrupt introduction to earth, on St Michael’s Day (29th September), he cursed the bramble bush forever. Consequently, it’s now believed, from this date, that year’s crop of brambles are no longer palatable and shouldn’t be picked.  That said, however, depending on where you live in the world, you’ll find varying versions of this piece of folklore. 

Blackberry Bush

Historically, the blackberry bush has been used to concoct many herbal remedies. And it was once believed that passing your sick baby through an arch, formed by a trailing bramble branch, could cure them of whooping cough! You had to pass them through the arch seven times hoping this would work! Also, adults with conditions such as rickets or rheumatism could expect the same results by adopting this process. Let’s hope this is one folklore that they didn’t practise in reality!

Blackberries and Herbal Medicine

Moving on, it’ll come as no surprise to you that the blackberry possesses properties which can treat various ailments. But, did you know there are a plethora of conditions in which this baby can work its magic? Here are some that might grab your attention:

  1. First of all, young blackberry leaves are a powerful source of antioxidants, as are the berries.
  2. They have powerful anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties.
  3. Blackberry leaves and roots are a well-recognised remedy for anaemia, along with the juice.
  4. Much like raspberry leaves, the leaves of the blackberry bush also regulate heavy menstruation.
  5. Apply an infusion externally to help with skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.
  6. Blackberry extract has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities which can kill the bacteria that cause oral disease.
  7. Infuse the leaves and use as a gargle to treat oral thrush.
  8. The root can treat dysentery when taken as a decoction.
  9. Use a decoction of the root to treat diarrhoea.
  10. And, if you’re stuck with a painful toothache, then chew on the leaves of the blackberry bush.
  11. Their juice is an ideal remedy for colitis.
  12. Whereas a tea made from the roots helps with labour pains, likewise, raspberry leaves also provide the same relief.

Did You Know?

In a strict botanical sense, the blackberry is not a berry but an aggregate fruit made up of tiny ‘drupelets’. By the way, an aggregate fruit is a fruit formed from several ovaries derived from the same flower.

Blackberries
Blackberry Drupelets

Nutritional Values of the Bramble

  • Brambles are fortified with calcium, helping build strong bones and teeth. Calcium also regulates muscle contractions and ensures your blood clots normally.
  • The bramble is packed with vitamin C, essential for protecting your cells and keeping them healthy. Vitamin C also maintains healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage. And, not forgetting its ability to help wounds heal.
  • They have a high copper content. Along with iron, this is essential for maintaining healthy blood cells and helps prevent cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
  • They’re high in fibre which helps maintain bowel health, lowers cholesterol levels, and controls blood sugar levels.
  • They’re also a great source of vitamin K, which we need for blood clotting and healing of wounds.
  • Finally, blackberries are high in manganese, which is vital to healthy bone development and a healthy immune system.
Blackberry Flower
Blackberry Flower & Leaves

Recipes


Blackberry Bush
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Blackberry Gin

A cheeky addition to your drinks cabinet, or how about you make your own Christmas hamper this year and add this little gem to the gift.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Botanical Drinks
Keyword: blackberries, blackberry gin, foraging recipes, gin
Author: Foragers Folly

Equipment

  • Large Jar
  • Sterilised Bottles

Ingredients

  • 300 g blackberries
  • 100 g sugar
  • 500 ml gin

Instructions

  • Wash the berries and place in a sterilised jar.
  • Add the sugar and gin, close the jar and give it a good shake.
  • Store in a cool dark place for a week, giving the jar a shake every other day to make sure the sugar has dissolved.
  • Strain the gin through a muslin cloth and bottle. I know it’s going to be hard. However, this delicious drink is best consumed within one month!

Blackberries in Vodka
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Blackberry Vodka

A delicious botanical drink. Serve chilled from the freezer and tease your tastebuds with this homemade drink.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Botanical Drinks
Keyword: blackberries, Blackberry Vodka, botanical drink, Vodka
Author: Foragers Folly

Equipment

  • Large Jar
  • Sterilised Bottles

Ingredients

  • 1 kg blackberries
  • 250 g granulated sugar
  • 1 bottle (70cl) good quality vodka

Instructions

  • Wash the blackberries and place them in a sterilised 1.5 litre preserving jar.
  • Add the sugar and lightly crush the berries with the sugar.
  • Pour over the vodka, seal the jar and shake. Leave to infuse in a cool place for 2-4 weeks.
  • Strain the vodka into a bottle. Serve your delicious blackberry vodka chilled, preferably from the freezer.

Blackberries - Vinegar
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Blackberry Vinegar

Prep Time10 mins
Resting Time10 d
Course: condiment
Cuisine: Autumn Botanical Recipes
Keyword: blackberries, blackberry, blackberry vinegar, vinegar
Author: Foragers Folly

Equipment

  • Large Jar
  • Sterilised jars with a secure lids

Ingredients

  • Blackberries
  • Cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Sugar

Instructions

  • Fill a jar about 3/4 full of blackberries.
  • Pour vinegar over the berries, almost to the top of the jar.
  • Cover the jar with a plastic lid, or place a layer of clingfilm between a metal lid and the vinegar to avoid corrosion.
  • Place in a dark cupboard for 7 – 10 days.
  • Strain through a coffee filter or cheesecloth.
  • Add the liquid to a saucepan with 450g of sugar per 700ml of liquid. Bring to the boil, then boil for 8-10 minutes.
  • Transfer to steralised bottles.
  • Store in your fridge and use within 6 months.

Blackberries - Vinaigrette
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Blackberry Vinaigrette

This homemade dressing makes a lovely sweet and sour addition to any salad. Alternatively, use it as a tasty dipping sauce or as you would balsamic vinegar. Great with goats cheese!
Prep Time10 mins
Course: condiment
Cuisine: Autumn Botanical Recipes
Keyword: blackberries, blackberry, Blackberry Vinaigrette, vinaigrette
Author: Foragers Folly

Equipment

  • 1 Steralised Bottle

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp blackberry vinegar
  • 120 ml grapeseed or rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp French mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a blender until emulsified. Pour into a steralised bottle and chill in the fridge, however, use within two weeks

Blackberry Cobbler - Blackberries
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Blackberry Cobbler

Delicious foragers spin on the American favourite, Peach Cobbler. Serve with thick cream or a good, old fashioned custard.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Autumn Botanical Recipes
Keyword: blackberries, blackberry, blackberry Cobbler, Cobbler, dessert
Servings: 9 people
Author: Foragers Folly

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ovenproof baking dish

Ingredients

  • 300 g fresh blackberries or more to taste
  • 400 g caster sugar divided in half
  • 120 g butter
  • 180 ml milk
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 160 C / Gas 3.
  • Mix blackberries and half of the caster sugar in a bowl; let stand until the mixture becomes juicy, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Place butter in a baking dish and place dish in the preheating oven until butter has melted. Remove dish from oven.
  • Combine the remaining caster sugar, milk, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until mixture is smooth; pour over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon blackberry mixture on top.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until bubbling and cooked through, about 1 hour.

And finally, I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post on blackberries. Don’t forget to leave your comments below. And if you don’t want to miss a post, you know what you have to do, subscribe here! In the meantime, happy foraging, stay safe and take care.