You don't need a huge garden to grow salads that taste far better than you could ever imagine. These leaves, petals and dressings are full of flavour - and some of them are tiny. Take our tutorial on creating a flavoursome salad.
Lettuce is fine, but there's so much more to salads than that. Our favourite salad leaf is the peashoot, which you can grow from those cheap dried peas that supermarkets sell. It is soft and lush and flavoursome. Also try apple mint leaves, which taste of apples and have a strange fluffy texture too.
Microgreens don't even need a garden. You can grow them on your windowsill, and they add a wonderful burst of flavour to a dish. Some of the best are herbs, but most salads work well as microgreens: harvest them when their first ‘true’ leaves appear (that means the plant has four leaves on it, the first two being the baby leaves). Our favourites are micro-lavender, which has the most incredible flavour and works beautifully in a salad with fish, beetroot and mustard, because that reminds us of our childhood and is ready to eat within days. You should also try shiso greens and young sunflower seedling.
The best edible flower out there is the parrot tulip. Its petals have a lovely pea-like taste and they look stunning in a salad. Don’t eat tulips from a florist though, as they will have been sprayed and fed with chemicals that will make you very ill. Instead, grow your own, and enjoy the flowers before eating them.
A delicious dressing
Forget a shop-bought salad dressing and instead enjoy these beautiful homemade vinegars and oils. We love making our own chive blossom vinegar, or elderflower vinegar. They are so easy: cram a jam jar or bottle with the flowers that you want to infuse, fill to the top with white wine vinegar, and then leave for four weeks before draining into a bottle, and then use. They will lose any dramatic colours that they take from petals if you keep them in the sun. Or else chop up herbs, leave to soak in a jar of olive oil, then strain out the herbs before using the herb-flavoured oil. You’ll never buy a bottle of unhealthy dressing again.
Words by organic gardening blog Fennel & Fern
Serve in one of our beautiful TOAST salad bowls