For a long time I had mistakenly assumed that the common miner’s lettuce that grows in the city (Claytonia perfoliata) is bland tasting, similar to chickweed. I had this misimpression, I think, because of my experience eating another species of miner’s lettuce that grows in the woods (Siberian miner’s lettuce, Claytonia sibirica), which is a boring but solid candidate for salad. But this spring, a big and lush patch of the common miner’s lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata, sprouted outside a cafe I frequent, and I grabbed a handful to taste, and oh my god! Wow! Succulent, flavorful, rich — it might just be the best tasting wild green there is!
I very rarely harvest greens that are near the road and within peeing range of dogs, but I am making an exception for miner’s lettuce because a) it is very seasonal and will disappear soon and b) it is hard to find in my neighborhood and c) it is truly that delicious. “Pee is sterile,” I tell myself, “it washes off.” To be extra safe, I tried wilting the greens tonight. I hadn’t done that with miner’s lettuce before, either, and — oh my god! Wow! It’s incredible! It’s like spinach minus the oxalic acid (what gives spinach its tartness).
Update: Found a clean patch in a wooded area! Score!
Other tasty things to do with miner’s lettuce would be putting it on a sandwich, eating it raw as a salad green, mixing it into a green smoothie, or pretty much anything else you can think of that you could do with spinach.
In terms of nutrition, miner’s lettuce has vitamin C and essential fatty acids. It grows under a foot tall even in robust patches, and seems to prefer street corners. I wish you good luck in finding a patch!
Then explore many more wild plants on the Search Plants! page.