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Posted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:34 pm
by rainbowgardener
I've been using a little bit of stuff here and there, but last night I made the first true spring salad. It contained:

A little bit of store lettuce for crunch and color contrast (being much paler than my garden stuff), a whole bunch of spinach and parsley (both over-wintered), leaves of cabbage, celery, dandelion, chickweed, raspberry, anise hyssop, mint, lemon balm, lots of little violet petals, some lilac flower buds (very tangy!).

That is a salad that lights up your mouth! Every bite has flavours in it, different from bite to bite.

Incidentally, I was walking around my lawn, grazing, tasting things. I came to the garlic which has no bulbs yet, but big healthy leaves. So I took a bite of garlic leaf. Oh man! It is SO strong of garlic. I don't like raw garlic, so don't eat raw garlic cloves, but it seemed possible the leaves were even stronger than the cloves. My one bite challenged my stomach for a little while. So we use the stems of onions for green onions, but I never heard of anyone cooking with garlic leaves. Why is that? It seems like those leaves would give you plenty of garlic flavor and wouldn't be so strong once cooked.

Another question. I put the dandelion leaves in the salad. Could I have used the flower petals as well? What about the pansy petals, I think those are edible too? What about the viburnum flowers? The buds have not opened yet and already they are fragrant!


Posted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:11 pm
by applestar
I grow garlic chives and their leaves are very garlicky. I never tried garlic leaves from the ones I want to grow to bulbs, but you may remember I grow garlic bottoms in the winter, and I do snip those wispy shoots for garnish and flavoring.

I love to pull the individual flowers from the Dandelion flower head and scatter them on the salad.

I think whole pansie flowers look amazingly decorative to put on top of the salad, but individual petals are easier to eat.

Both dandelion and pansies, the base of the flower is hard and not as good to eat. Dandelion's bracts are bitter, I think. maybe pansies, too? I don't remember. Some Violets have a sweetness just above the bract. So do the individual dandelions flowers. But I think you have to get to them before the bees.

Right now, some of the overwintered mustard family are starting to bloom -- arugula, mizuna, winter mustard (Brussels sprouts soon). Those blooms taste spicy and are great in salads.

Haven't tried viburnum.

Redbud buds are starting to swell. I heard that those flowers are good to eat too.


Posted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:38 pm
by rainbowgardener
Thanks, applestar, nice response!

I think the garlic mustard is starting to appear on the hillside, not blooming yet, but that's another kind of garlicky/spicy leaf for the salad. How to get rid of your weeds - eat them! :)

Having company over this weekend and next weekend, will have to have some salads with lots of flowers!

Rain has stopped, time to get off the computer and out in the garden!