Today, keeping well away from fellow mortals as I still have Covid, I headed to the nearby woods with my son. To my delight (and my son’s older than his 8 years sigh), I discovered a small patch of Winter Purslane, Claytonia perfoliata.
Also known as Miners Lettuce or Spring Beauty, this succulent little salad plant comes from the Portulaceae family. The leaves are an ogee shape and are tender and fleshy, with a crisp mild texture.
It’s called Miners Lettuce as miners prospecting for gold in America took it with them so they’d have a reliable salad.
We were having chicken pie and mash for dinner, but I made up a lovely little side salad of purslane, finely grated raw carrot, diced soft cheese and raisins. I tossed it in organic cider vinegar…and served it in a Peppa Pig plastic bowl, as that was all I had that wasn’t caked in childish mess.
Voila! Tossed Purslane Avec Peppa!
My son eyed it balefully, shook his head, and returned to his chicken pie.
I munched it all down. It was delicious. As the purslane has such a mild grassy flavour it’s best not to overpower it. The mild cheese (yes, ok, it was those kids’ cream cheese triangles) was just right.
Purslane is high in Vitamin C, iron, calcium and magnesium. It actually comes from Cuba originally! It’s also got omega 3 in it. First Nation Native Americans used it to treat eye infections and rheumatism. They would crush the leaves into a poultice.
Another thing…it does this great thing when it flowers! Check it out below!
The tiny flowers appear in the middle of the leaf. this makes Miners Lettuce/Winter Purslane really easy to recognise.
You can see where it gets its other name ‘Spring Beauty’!