There are some really nice additions you can make to salad to give it a little extra punch. My two favorites are watercress and nasturtiums.
Watercress sitting pretty. Photo thanks to nanoew2006.
Watercress is a highly nutrient-dense green (up there with kale) that I usually pair with other greens to mellow out the spice. The spice of watercress has a similar zing to radishes. Often times I will use one part watercress to three parts spinach, baby greens, or arugula. Watercress also goes nicely laid across fish or mixed into soup. To store, be sure to put the root ends into water- this will help it keep for longer. There are other varieties of cresses out there; we grew curly cress on the farm I worked on.
Nasturtiums are another spicy addition to a salad.
Nasturtium flower just waiting to be chomped on...Photo thanks to ms. Tea
They are beautiful flowers and are quite easy to grow from seed. I will pick nasturtium flowers off just before putting on top of a salad. Not only do they make it taste delish, they look so pretty and it is a really nice detail in a salad. Everyone likes to eat pretty salad.
When we grow plants, we usually see them everyday. So, we see when they are in their tender youth, just getting to be a strong, hardy plant that can make it through rain and hail. We see them grow into their fullness and ripeness, producing flowers and fruit.
We saw this kale go from seed to beautiful leaves... it was wonderful!
Witnessing all of those transitions is remarkable, and creates a deep appreciation when we eat the plant or its fruits. When we see it grow, we know that it took time, care, and perseverance for that plant to blossom, and that makes me grateful.
I also love bringing plants into our garden because it expands the plant varieties that we are exposed to, both in the garden and in the kitchen. Often in the grocery store, there is just one kind of broccoli, three kinds of tomatoes, certain culinary herbs, but we want more!
Oh green zebra tomatoes, we haven't forgotten about you...Photo thanks to The Marmot.
Ol & I went to our favorite plant sale recently~ the Boulder Culinary Gardeners plant sale~ and we got so many neat varieties. We aim for weird. Like the Black Prince tomatoes. We also aim for delicious, like the Campari tomatoes we got as well. Lots of pepper plants, herbs, and pickling cucs. These are plant varieties you just don’t see in the store (if you don’t garden, go to the farmer’s market and look for variety there).