Miner’s Lettuce (Organic)
Claytonia perfoliata. 30-55 days.
This cool-weather salad green is native to the West Coast of North America, and Native Americans there have long valued it for food and medicine. Small plants prefer to grow autumn through spring and will regrow after multiple harvests. Leaves grow in pairs that slowly fuse together as they mature. Satisfying succulent texture with a sweet mild flavor, most frequently eaten raw but can also be cooked. Packed with vitamins and minerals. The common name for Claytonia perfoliata, Miner’s Lettuce, refers to its history of being eaten by miners in the California Gold Rush to help prevent scurvy. If you don’t harvest it all, it will self-seed and add a nice wild edible element to the garden. Grows well in shady damp places. Aka, Indian Lettuce, Winter Purslane, Spring Beauty.
Direct sow fall through early spring. May also be transplanted. Great choice for containers and also for winter gardens to zone 6, but does not do well in summer heat. Self-seeds and naturalizes easily. Shade-tolerant.
Harvest for seed when first black seeds are visible. Spread plants on cardboard to after-ripen more seed. Thresh by hand or by dancing, winnow to clean. No isolation from cross-pollination is necessary for this wild plant.