Friday, April 29, 2011

Wild edibles; Miner's lettuce

The San Francisco Bay area offers some incredible things for foragers. One of them is a lovely spring crop of miner's lettuce. Miner's lettuce, like Nasturtium, is a member of the Purslane family but unlike Nasturtium, lacks a spicy kick. Far more similar to spinach, it goes well in all manner of salads and makes very nice cooked green.

One of my favorite uses for Miner's lettuce is in a simple trail salad. Some of the areas where I climb are thick with it, as well as Nasturtium. I often bring along a tin of tuna packed in olive oil, a lemon, a small packet of soy sauce and forage greens as I go. It takes no time at all to build a fantastic salad you probably couldn't buy if you wanted to.

Earlier this week I ventured out with my mobile office(laptop and phone) and managed to forage enough Miner's lettuce, Nasturtium and Fennel to bring a pile back to Nook, one of our fantastic local cafes, where they were nice enough to use my wild treasure to make a meal fit to please even the most seasoned foodie. Though, I have to admit I'd almost eat grass if you added the right dressing, goat cheese, walnuts and some sultanas. In this case we added all of those as well as some tomatoes and Arugula. I think we decided it was the equivalent of eating a circus.

Yes please, and I'll be doing that again soon. As these posts come together it occurs to me that I may indeed be able to compensate for lack of space to grow as much as I'd like simply by settling on some regular foraging spots. The wild harvest is certainly out there for the taking.

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