Spring Beauty - Claytonia virginica ($3 per tuber)
Spring Beauty is an easy to grow, beautiful spring ephemeral that produces an abundance of graceful pinkish-white flowers. It's best edible feature is the medium to small corms (tubers) it yields, but the greens can also be eaten. While it does not grow particularly quickly, the plant will seed itself freely, producing tiny tubers the first year that can then be replanted easily, producing many small to medium size tubers the second year. Once established it can cover large areas, providing both ample food and aesthetic pleasure. $3 per tuber.
Cultivation: A typical spring woodland flower, it grows best under the partial shade of deciduous trees, in a moist, but well-drained area. It does well in a variety of other settings. We grow some in full sun, others in various shade gardens, mixed with other plants, or on its own, and it can also grow in a lawn, provided it is allowed to bloom and go dormant before mowing (by mid-July, most of the plant is dormant).
Food preparation: Best used as a potato, boiled or in stews and soups. It is probably the best-tasting wild tuber available on this continent and works well in a range of recipes. The corms are not inulin-rich like many other wild or cultivated tubers, and therefore do not require lengthy cooking.
Ethnobotany: Harvested by a number of native peoples of Eastern North America. Other similar species were widely consumed in the Pacific Northwest. Both the greens and the corms were eaten, cooked or raw, wherever it grew. The plant was also consumed by early settlers.