There’s something magical about harvesting for a meal you’re about to eat. I love the process of wandering through the garden spying what I can harvest and imagining how fresh and tasty the resulting meal will be. Last night I did this for a delicious garden salad to accompany local meats and cheeses that I purchased last week.
We love a garden salad, especially on a hot Summer’s day. There’s a lot to love when it’s paired with local cheeses and meats. It is always a matter of harvesting between watering and dinner or lunch so that the salad ingredients are as fresh and tasty as possible, not to mention full of nutrients! Technically we should be harvesting in the morning. This is when food plants are full of water and flowers are fresh, but there’s something lovely about garden to plate to stomach taking less than an hour!
This salad isn’t as pretty as our late Autumn and Winter salads which include the delicate beauty of Pansies and Violas, but they just won’t grow during our hot Australian Summer. The beauty of a garden salad is its variety and versatility. A little bit of everything that you can harvest on the day. That variety of ingredients, all in season and offering different nutritional benefits yields almost the full benefit of antioxidants and vitamins that sometimes leave the ingredients during a storage process. I try to make the salad with only ingredients from the garden, but it isn’t always possible. My next preference is using locally bought produce that hasn’t been stored in big facilities and driven around in trucks for goodness knows how long. On occasion I have to settle for supermarket produce but it tends to pale in comparison to the fresh and local produce.
As my garden is organic I frequently find crops with pest damage. We eat it anyway and I try to plant more than we need so that there’s plenty for the bugs and us. A few holes in a leaf won’t hurt us, but I draw the line at eating the bugs themselves. All critters that make their way to the plate are gently returned to the garden.
This recipe is featured in a YouTube video on the janegrowsgardenrooms Channel. If you’re interested Click here
Ingredients for one serve:
FROM THE GARDEN:
1 Bok Choi leaf (taken from the new growth at the centre of the plant)
2 Pak Choi leaves
2 Rocket leaves
1 large Sage leaf
1 Sweet Potato Vine leaf
2 Nasturtium leaves (I like to pick a green leaf from the orange flowered variety and a blue-green leaf from the red flowered variety)
1 large Native Violet (Viola hederacea) leaf (Australia’s native violet, usually I would add flowers too but there weren’t enough on my plants this time.)
4 Sea Purslane leaves (for salty pops of flavour – this one is an Australian native)
1 sprig of Thyme
1 sprig of Dill
1 Society Garlic Flower (these have a garlicky flavour so one is enough)
2 Perennial Basil leaves
1 Green Pepper Basil leaf
Dianthus Petals (petals only for a lovely delicate flavour )
2 Nasturtium flowers
PURCHASED LOCAL PRODUCE:
3 Green Beans
3 sticks of Carrot
3 thin slices of Red Capsicum
Serve with whatever you have to hand. With this we had homemade herb bread spread with local patè, pastrami, salami, camembert, leftover shredded chicken (originally roasted at home with garlic and thyme and stuffed with lemon myrtle leaves), blue cheese, aged cheddar and a glass of red wine.
Wishing you a generous yield in all your garden endeavours,