Grown as a winter or early spring green, field salad (Valerianella locusta) is sold in Germany as a whole plant, often with the small main root attached. Field salad grows in a loose rosette and is harvested two to three months after planting. Field salad is also famously known as Rapunzel, the vitamin-rich food that cost a peasant family their only daughter in the Brothers Grimm fairy tale.
It resists frosts to -4°F (-20°C) and can be harvested well into the winter if planted August through September. If planted later, it survives through the winter and can be harvested in the spring. Pick it after the frost is gone in the morning, or it will wilt. Buy corn or field salad seeds here.
Field salad is expensive in the store because it is labor intensive and does not weigh much. It must be washed carefully because the dirt and sand collects at the base of the leaves. If you do not cut through the short stem, the plants can be dressed and eaten whole, in one bite.
Field salad is available for most of the winter in the grocery stores in Germany. Europeans use this plant like lettuce. It is aromatic, often tasting nutty if planted outdoors. It can be dressed with a hot bacon vinaigrette, mustard vinaigrette or used in a mixed greens salad. It is not as popular in North America as it is in Europe.
Field salad has a high level of vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron and potassium.
Other names: German - Ackersalat (in Swabia), Mäuseöhrchensalat (Eifel,Saarland, Luxemburg), Vogerlsalat, Vogelsalat (Austria), Rapunzelsalat (Thuringia, Saxony), Nüsslisalat (Switzerland) English - Rapunzel, lamb's lettuce, corn salad, mâche