SALADSHARE #3 'Winter purslane'
Winter purslane (Claytonia perfoliata) is also known by such names as miner’s lettuce, miner’s green, poor man’s lettuce, spring beauty. It is cultivated for its fleshy, heart-shaped green leaves that are a source of vitamin C. Its name, miner’s lettuce, comes from the fact that it was eaten by miners during the California Gold Rush in order to fight the scurvy.
It originates from mountain and coastal areas of North America, and was brought to Kew gardens and naturalized in Europe in the 18th century.
Winter purslane is a frost hardy plant. Its growing season is late winter to mid spring, as it prefers cool and damp weather. It is an annual plant, but will readily self-seed and come back year after year.
Winter purslane can be harvested multiple times, as it keeps producing more leaves. As leaves get bigger, they start tasting more bitter. Hot weather and sun will also increase the bitterness.
The leaves, as well as flowering shoots are most commonly eaten raw in salads. They have a mild spinach-like flavour. It can also be used to thicken soups, or even juiced.
The leaves are best stored in a fridge for up to a week.