Claytonia – Hearts for your Heart!

Do you know this green:

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This is Claytonia perfoliata or Miner’s lettuce (Winter Purslane in Europe) a member of the Portulacaceae (purslane) family. It is a slightly succulent green with beautiful heart and spade cup shaped leaves and a tiny white flower growing out of the center. I planted  it  about 2 years ago and it has since self-seeded in my garden. That’s okay because as I weed it out I get a delicious treat for the salad bowl.

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It has a very mild slightly sweet, tart taste reminiscent of spinach or peapods and the stems have the crunch of a bean sprout. Add it to salads, steam it or stir fry it- it all works deliciously. Although when cooked it loses its crispness and becomes a little slick.

It is called Miner’s lettuce because it is one of the earliest greens out and  miners would supposedly seek it out to eat it for it’s high Vitamin C content after a scurvy inducing winter diet. Here is an article in the Washington Post about it.

Members of the Purslane family are unusually high in Omega-3 fatty acids and are also a source of vitamin C and dietary minerals. They also contain powerful antioxidants which may have anti-cancer properties.
All that nutrition aside- Claytonia make a beautiful addition to your salad bowl and a nice change up for your run of the mill greens.  I like to combine it with baby Arugula (Rocket) a lemon/olive oil dressing, salt, pepper and some shavings of some good Parmesan Reggiano for a healthy delicious salad. 

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Here I combined the above salad with grilled salmon and walnuts (other Omega 3 high foods) and added apples for fiber and crunch and here we have a delicious dinner that’s also good for you.

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I’ll leave you with the lyrics to B.B. King’s Caldonia- just because it runs through my mind and I sing it every time I see Claytonia- just one of those weird ways my mind works I guess. 🙂

Caldonia

BB King, Lowell Fulsom

Walking with my baby, she got great big feet
Long, lean and cranky and ain’t had nothing to eat
But she’s my baby, I love her just the same
I’m crazy about my baby ’cause Caldonia is her name

Caldonia, Caldonia
What makes your big head so hard?
I love you, I love you just the same
I’m crazy about you, baby, ’cause Caldonia is your name

You know my mother told me to leave Caldonia alone
No kidding, that what she said
She said, “Son, the woman ain’t no good, leave her alone”
But mama didn’t know what Caldonia had been putting down
So I’m going down to Caldonia’s house and ask her just one more time

Caldonia, Caldonia
What makes your big head so hard?
I love you, love you just the same
I’m crazy about you, baby, ’cause Caldonia is your name

8 comments

  1. Gabi says:

    Courtney- Yes I think the economy contributes to the need to grow your own- that and the e.coli and salmonella contaminations-good incentives to plant something.

    Dhanggit- Thanks I originally found the seeds at L’Atelier Vert (the link is in my blogroll) I’d be interested to see if you find this there. Thanks for the kind thoughts on my bee pops too 🙂

    Maryann- Wow when I can show you something I’m honored and BTW I think you’re the best!

    Deborah- Thank you very much! I hope you find some claytonia!

    Hey Holly- Yes it feels great to get out into the garden and get my hands in the dirt. Spring is always so schizophrenic here in Utah. I’m thinking we’ll drop by the Live Green Fest- are you going?

    JJ- Thanks!

  2. jj says:

    Nope, never heard of this green, either and I thought I covered them all! LOL Thanks, this was very interesting.

  3. Holly says:

    How cool is it that you are working in your garden (ok, even though it snowed on us again this week!). So fun! Are you going to go the Live Green fest downtown next Saturday? It looks interesting.

  4. Deborah Dowd says:

    This green looks very familiar, but I have never heard of it. It sounds delicious and I am always looking for new greens to switch up for salads.

    You have a great blog- I love the tone of your writing!

  5. Maryann says:

    You just taught me something Gabi. I had never heard of this!
    (thank you for your kind words on my blog..you are a sweety!) 🙂

  6. dhanggit says:

    i have never seen this green yet nor tasted 🙂 thanks for sharing for a “veggie lover” like me i ought to know stuffs like this 🙂 your photos with this green sounds delicious!!

    ps, by the way I LOVE your bee bop cheesecake challenge for last month.;i really wanted to do it but i didnt had time 🙂

  7. courtney says:

    This is a new one. I heard today on the radio that more people are planting gardens in record numbers this year. Dont know the reason, but I assume its the economy.

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