Last year a friend gave me some seeds of Claytonia (Claytonia perfoliata), which has a variety of common names, inclyding miner’s lettuce and winter purslane. It grew well and I encouraged it to self-seed.
The result is that we have a very plentiful crop of it this year! Scattered around the garden, among other things…. It’s very hardy and makes a lovely early salad green. It has a very mild flavour, so takes the place of lettuce in a salad. You can eat the leaves, and the stalks, and the flower – which have the odd habit of growing in the centre of the leaves. It is a bit succulent, with fleshy leaves, but they have a nice fresh bite to them.
So for the last couple of weeks I have been harvesting handfuls of claytonia, and adding in a few other things – parsley, chives, baby beet leaves, hairy bittercress – to add a bit of flavour, and that’s a homegrown salad. It beats a supermarket salad bag!
It went a bit nuts in the asparagus bed, and there I pulled it out (which is easy to do) so that it didn’t impact the asparagus harvest. But I will leave plenty to flower and self-seed, and hope that it will grow itself again for next year. Self-growing salad, what more could you want?
Claytonia is great raw, and can withstand only the lightest of cooking, but we did use it in spring stir-fries last year.