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The Art Weeds and Salad

April 24th, 2010

This time of year salads are the vegetable of choice from the garden. Lettuce is particularly delicious since it loves the coolness of spring. Many of the wild spring greens are still tender and sweet and they can be added for more taste and texture. We’ve been eating our share of salads from the garden, although many of the greens that make them up I didn’t plant. Our salads include wild garlic mustard, and invasive weed that has is great in salads. We’ve also been adding some dandelion greens, some cardamine and a few wild violet leaves. I also love to add herbs to our salads, they not only add a wonderful flavor, but they add even more nutrition.

Wild flowers have been added as well, they add beauty and extra vitamins & minerals. Who wouldn’t want to eat a salad so lovely? These wild violets add extra vitamin C (for more info on the nutritional benefits of wild violets read this)

This salad included: mache (corn salad), garlic mustard, overwintered lettuce, lemon balm, blue stocking bergamot. The dressing was made with fresh chives from the garden, some white balsamic, a spoonful of dijon mustard, a spoonful of honey, olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. We topped the salad with wild violet blooms, which are very plentiful in our front lawn.

Dandelion greens can also be eaten, I’ve seen them for sale at Whole Foods for around $4/pound. Pricey considering most of us have them growing in our gardens. The blossoms can also be harvested and used for many things; muffins, jelly, wine and of course eaten raw on salads (make sure to remove green stem and bits, they can be bitter). For more info on the health benefits of dandelions check out this article.

With all these lovely healthy weeds thrown in, who wouldn’t want to eat these lovely salads? There are also many other edible flowers that you can add to salads, we like the starry white arugula blooms, nasturtiums add a slight peppery tang, pansies can be eaten as can many other flowering herbs. Any of these would be a perfect addition to cupcakes or tiny shortbreads as well. I’m thinking for my next tea party with my nieces I’ll have to make some wild violet cookies.

Do you ever harvest flowers and wild plants for your salad plate?

Garden Harvests

April 10th, 2010

I forgot to mention a few weeks ago when I harvested my first salad from the garden. My spinach that I tried to overwinter didn’t make it so I wasn’t harvesting in February like I was last year. Last year my first harvest was in February, this year it was over a month later on March 17.

I harvested a salad of mache (corn salad), dandelion greens and garlic mustard. The funny thing is that I didn’t plant any of these. The mache seeded itself from a few plants that went to seed last spring. It’s growing around the edges of the raised beds and in the walkways around the raised beds. It overwintered without any protection whatsoever in the garden.

The garlic mustard is an invasive weed that we have lots of, good thing it’s edible! And dandelions, well we all have those, might as well eat them, they’re super healthy. We really loves salads, so we’ve been enjoying a few each week thanks to all of our “wild” plants. There’s nothing better than eating things you didn’t plant!

One of the things I really want to work on this year is winter gardening. I am currently reading Eliot Coleman’s newest book The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses. I’m hoping to use some of his techniques and have a nice harvest of greens throughout the winter.

Are you harvesting anything yet? Do you practice any cold weather techniques?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.