Somewhere along the line soup season has shifted to salad season. My winter cravings for broth, hot oats, and spending time in my cozy kitchen have given way to desires for fast, fresh meals and puttering away in my garden.
May is, not coincidentally, National Salad Month. Unfortunately (as far as I’m concerned), some reports suggest that this is really just a big commercial put out by the dressing association or something. I’m going to run with it anyway because we could all eat more salad.
I have three delicious additions to any salad to share with you today.
Pictured above are radishes, red potatoes, and beets, all roasted in the oven with a little coconut oil and salt. Carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, and parsnips all work beautifully for this as well.
Homemade Pickles and Preserves
Above right you have my latest most favorite addition to salads of all kinds: preserved lemons.
I’ve made these out of both Meyer lemons and…regular(?) lemons. I thought for sure the Meyer would be a thousand times better but to my delight they are only about 2 times better. This is good news because it means that the regular lemons, which are cheaper and more readily available, are also super amazing when preserved!
You need three things to make preserved lemons; lemons, a jar, and salt. Oh yeah, and time.
Wash your lemons and cut them into desired size. Many recipes call for leaving your lemons intact and just making a few cuts to allow the salt in and juices out. I’ve done it that way but then you have to get your hands all messy in order to chop up the lemon when you want to use it. For this batch I chopped up my lemon from the get-go, removing as many seeds as I could along the way.
In other words, cut your lemons into desire size, be it slivers, quarters, halves, a rough chop, rounds, etc.
Fill the bottom of a clean jar with salt.
Add lemon and lots more salt. Lots more salt, like a teaspoon or two per lemon.
Muddle the lemon to release the juice. Ideally you want enough juice to release to just about cover the top of the lemon.
Put a lid on it. Place it in a cabinet and make a note that it will be ready in 4-5 weeks. I use a piece of masking tape right on the jar and write “ready on June 3rd” right on it. Every few days shake the jar vigorously to release the juices and move the brine around.
After 4-5 weeks transfer the jar to the fridge and start to use the preserved lemons. If they are too salty for your liking just rinse in cold water before using. The jar will keep in the fridge for several months.
Above right you have pickled radishes with some chive greens and flowers floating on top.
It’s ridiculously simple to make quick pickles out of carrots, beets, garlic, or radishes and they will keep in the fridge for quite some time.
Pour equal parts water and vinegar into a sauce pan (white or apple cider vinegar). Add a teaspoon of salt per cup of liquid and, optionally, a teaspoon or two of honey.
Bring to a simmer and add spices; red chilli flakes, garlic, thin slices of jalapeno and/or peppercorns if you like it spicy! Simmer for a few minutes and turn off the heat.
Pack an clean jar with washed and sliced vegetables and some rosemary, if desired.
Pour the brine over the vegetables until covered. The cold vegetables should absorb enough heat so as not to break the jar.
Let jar(s) cool on the counter and then transfer to the fridge.
The pickles are ready to eat once cool and will last in the fridge for about 6 months.
Spring is a great time for edible flowers. Through April I was eating beautiful violets from the yard (we don’t spray anything on our lawn but if you do, don’t eat your ‘weeds’!) and now it’s all about the chive, sage, and kale blossoms. Come summer time and my salads with be sprinkled with day lily blossoms and nasturtiums.
Remember, in nature color equals antioxidants!
No dressing necessary. 😉
What’s your favorite Spring salad addition?