Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wild Salad

   I love fresh, green salads! Often times I can make a whole meal off of them. When my body gets in its 'craving salad mode' (and it often does), I pretty much live on salads for days... even weeks .... at a time. Usually, this means that your body is needing something that is in the salads and you should go with your craving (so long as it is healthy stuff).

The other day I got in a MAJOR salad mood, didn't have any salad fixin's here at home, the salad items in the garden aren't ready yet, and I didn't want to drive in to town just to buy salad makings, so I decided to take a stroll in my yard to see what I could throw together. The picture you see on the left was the end result of my Wild Salad walk. Drizzled with a little "juice" I had saved from a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, I had a very tasty salad for the cost of nothing.

The wild greens that are available for a fresh salad vary greatly as the seasons change. But from late winter, all the way up until the weather really begins to get hot, you can almost always find a readily available supply of fresh greens for a very tasty fresh salad. But be sure and pick only greens that have not been touched by any chemicals, such as insecticides or fertilizers. Here is what this salad included:


  • Lambsquarters (wild spinach, goosefoot)
  • Asiatic Day Flowers (blue flowers and leaves)
  • Wood Sorrel (Sheep Showers - a very lemony flavor)
  • Wild Garlic Chives (from first year wild garlic)
  • Honeysuckle flowers
  • Mulberries (wild black)
  • Redbud Tree Leaves
  • Yellow Dock Leaves
  • Perilla Mint (Shiso)
  • Plantain (the green, leafy plant, NOT the bananas)
  • Chick Weed (a little difficult to find this time of year, but I found one in the deep shade)
Wash your salad ingredients thoroughly in cool water and pat dry with toweling. Although it is important to wash the dust, dirt and possible critter pee off of your fresh greens, I did not wash the delicate flowers, as they just seemed too delicate. 

The amounts of each green used are strictly up to the individual and their taste preferences. I used very little Perilla Mint because I don't care for its licorice flavor, but a little did lend a lot to the overall flavor blend of the salad. Some people, though, might like much more of the licorice-like flavor in their salad. Make sure you pick only the young, tender leaves of your greens for your raw salad, otherwise, they might be tough and/or too strong (overpowering other items in the salad mix). 

The mulberries are actually black mulberries (as you can see by the one on the upper right), but Dave and I recently ate all the ones we could reach on my tree as we stood and chatted one evening, so we are having to wait for some more to ripen. But the reddish ones were still very good in this salad.The flavors of them, the honeysuckle and the garlic... all in the same bite .... blend especially well. 

Serve with your favorite salad dressing and a slice of homemade bread or crackers. Mmmm..... it just doesn't get much better! 

 Note: The larger Redbud lambsquarters leaves were more for decoration. The younger, more tender ones in the salad were the ones for eating. 

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