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sprig to twig » Blog Archive » the accidental forager

the accidental forager

Claytonia

I once went to quite a bit of trouble to track down Claytonia seeds to plant in the garden. I finally found them from Nichols Garden Nursery, based in Salem, Oregon. They have just about anything you could want in the way of seeds. They grew quite satisfactorily, but the life cycle was very short, and in the end, I concluded, not really worth the effort involved. How much more fun, anyhow, to find it growing in the wild.

Miner’s lettuce

Also known as miner’s lettuce, it is…well…”cute” is the only word for it. Each longish stem supports a couple of levels of round, slightly cupped leaves with a topknot of little white flowers. I found it growing in profusion along the verge of the road I walk nearly every day. The few handfuls brought home had begun to go to seed, but that just added a tiny bit of crunch to what is otherwise a tender, delicate salad. I threw everything into a strainer to rinse, then tore the whole plant: stems, leaves flowers and seeds into bite-sized pieces (I hate that chi chi custom of leaving salad makings whole so that they whip you in the nose and drizzle dressing down your chin). This salad was all about freshness and delicacy, so I just used a light dressing of oil and champagne vinegar. It would be easy to overpower these greens. Over at Greenish Thumb, Wendy has a recipe for the perfect drink to accompany this salad…or most anything, come to think of it. Hint: it involves gin.

9 Responses to “the accidental forager”

  1. Loree / danger garden Says:

    There is a huge patch of this growing just a couple of blocks away. I’ve been so tempted to pick a little, but then I think of all the dogs that walk past it everyday…

  2. James Says:

    I’d guess your gleaned salad was simple and terrific. I didn’t plant my miner’s lettuce in a moist enough spot. It languished and never put up enough leaves to sample. The plant looks sooo cool, though! Even a few on a salad would be an awesome garnish. But I might just have to settle for Wendy’s cocktail without salad until I find a better spot for the plant.

  3. ricki Says:

    Loree~urp…I don’t suppose a swish in the sink would do much to alleviate those fears.

    James~Wendy’s cocktail could soothe disappointments of all kinds.

  4. Heather Says:

    I just weeded some of this out of my yard! I foolishly composted it instead of eating it. Drat.

  5. ricki Says:

    Heather~Next time you will know what to do. Anything we consider a weed always comes back, right?

  6. linda Says:

    Another thing I’venot seen in my neighborhood, along with nettles,

  7. ricki Says:

    Linda~Your neighborhood is just a lot more civilized than ours. Next year I must remember to bring you nettles. They had bolted by the time we started talking about it.

  8. Wendy Says:

    Yes, a chopped salad always makes things a little neater for the diner! that lettuce is definitely cute. At first, I thought it looked just like my euphorbia flowers.

  9. ricki Says:

    Wendy~Hah! Good eye…I hadn’t made the connection, but you’re right.

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