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.
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). 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.
Miner’s Lettuce with Aubergine & Chickpea Balls Served with Rosemary & Garlic Oil
- Small Pan, Oven Tray, Small Bowl, Large Bowl, Serving Plate
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
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.