Good Salad Edibles

kidokitty(Z6/PA)June 6, 2005

I'd like to know if there are any perennial plants, flowers, or vegetables that I can grow for a salad. So far I have:

Wild & Wood Strawberries - I heard the leaves are edible

Asparagus - Good blanched

Daylilies - The flowers

Chameleon - A tangy leaf

Any other suggestions?


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My only suggestions is to be absolutely sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that anything you plan to eat is truly edible. Your comment "I heard the leaves are edible" is a bit scary.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 11:01AM
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greenwitch(Sz19 SoCal)

Strawberry flowers/petals and fruit are edible, the leaves can be used in tea/infusions.

You can do a google search on edible flowers and come up with alot of ideas.

Do the same for salad greens, you'll get arugula, sorrel, nasturtium, radicchio, mustard greens and more although in your zone I think some are annuals not perennials.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 1:27PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Dandelions, great way to get rid of them.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 11:17PM
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Let your radishes go and eat the leaves. They are spicy like arugula and add a lot to a salad. I learned this at the garden at Colonial Williamsburg. The colonists grew radishes for their leaves.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2005 at 8:28PM
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My mom always cooked young beet greens, turnip greens (that may have already been mentioned). When I serve a salad or potato salad, I usually garnish it in a decorative fashion with violas (and mine are never sprayed) that is a no, no so as one of the members warned (you have to make sure of your source of leaves and flowers prior to use). Celery curls, scallion wands, sugar snap peas, raw green beans.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 4:00PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Garlic chive/grass and also garlic for the scapes. Dill, as well as basil.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 3:01AM
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poseyplanter(5A IL)

Hi Maureen,

Adding on to your list:

Unsprayed Roses are good, especially ones with nice perfume.
Onion/chive flowers
Bachelor Buttons (Corn Flower)
Borage flowers
Calendula petals
Thyme, especially Lemon Thyme
Scarlet Runner Bean Flowers



    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 10:34PM
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SusanC(9b/10a Sunset 17)

The young leaves of Swiss Chard are good in salads, and the variety 'Bright Lights' is really pretty.

Here is a link that might be useful: 'Bright Lights' Swiss Chard

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 9:04PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

Has anyone eaten strawberry leaves in a salad? Personally, I think they would be kinda tough and bitter. Gonna have to try some when I'm out in the wilds sometime. I don't care for wood strawberries one bit. They taste like their name.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 5:13PM
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linda_schreiber(z5/6 MI)

You're looking for any perennials, or for other self-seeding annuals or weedy/native salad-worthy-type things that you don't have to plant and tend yearly in a vegetable garden, yes? I have a few more suggestions once you wade through the next paragraph.

Warnings and cautions: First, I strongly agree with breezyb. Make sure that you know *precisely* what plant species you are dealing with [and not just by common name of the plant], and what part of that plant is 'edible', and at what season, and whether it is ok raw or only if cooked, etc. Second, remember that people can react to new edibles in very different ways. When trying something new, use just a little. Make sure you and family don't have problems. You can expand from there. [As example, I can eat pretty much anything, including lots of wild edible things, but my very first smidge of fresh organically grown cilantro nearly put me in a hospital. You just never know.] Third, remember that many things out there are *edible*, as in not poisonous. But keep in mind the sage wisdom of Crocodile Dundee: "You can live on it, but it tastes like...." Well, never mind. [grin] I agree with lpinkmountain on this one. Strawberry, and raspberry, leaves are edible. And they may have medicinal uses, but 'salad' they are not [wry grin].

You've had many good suggestions. And among the salad greens that Greenwitch mentioned, at least the sorrel [usually sold as 'french sorrel' here] is perennial in our zone, and some mustard greens are perennial or self-seeding here as well. Nasturtiums are annuals in this zone, but are cheap and common in seed packets everywhere, and are easy to grow, and the flowers are very nice in salads. Also check out information on various kinds of "cress" plants, mustard cousins. Some are probably 'weeds' in your yard, and others may do very well here.

Purslane!! [Portulaca oleraceae] Excellent as part of a salad! A weed, but I always make sure that there are nice healthy patches in the garden that are not weeded out. Prolific growth. Fleshy leaves, nicely crisp when chilled, and just a bit of spicy/peppery flavor. One of my favorites!

Lovage [Levisticum officinale] The leaves have a strongish celery-like flavor. Very fresh and nice.

Wood sorrel [Oxalis acetosella] Excellent sharp/acidic flavor. Use in small quantities, as an herb rather than as a salad green.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 11:00PM
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Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions. I do have an update to my edible salad garden. I should also note that I did actually try a wood strawberry leaf and it is very tough - the entire plant, in my opinion, is rather useless at least as far as edible stuff goes. Good for tea with spearmint though, although the regular strawberry and wild strawberry leaves are better (the tea I have tried).

In my defense I should say that I take a leaf and test it before actually eating any large quantities of it. :)

And for some reason, I don't have any dandelions! Which is odd because my neighbor has one big "lawn" that is about 99% weeds and 1% actual grass.

I now have: 6 sorrel plants, which I heard you can cook like spinach & it is better than raw (I did eat this plant already and I am okay with it, although it is a little bitter.) A side note: do any plants *become* poisonous when cooked? I'm going to test it out this weekend, I'll let you know how it is.


I also have winter savory. Has anyone tried this?

And you are right, Linda, I am looking for plants that I don't have to begin each year from seedlings.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 10:54PM
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oldherb(z8 Oregon)

Here's a few more you might concider...
Malabar spinach: (especially the red form as it has purple stems and lavender flower clusters)
Aegopodium podagraria...AKA bishops weed: a ground cover here that needs some control but the leaves are edible.
Oca: A perennial oxalis from South America...the top leaves and raw tubers can be used in salads (source: Nichol's Garden Nursery in Albany Oregon)
Jerusalem artichoke: slice up in salads raw or cook and cool...may cause flatulance when eaten so I recommend taking some Beano or othe anti-gas precautions...but it's worth it.
Vietnamese coriander: somewhat tender perennial low growing form of knotweed that has flavorful leaves...young leaves are best in salads. Does best in some shade.
Artemisia princeps, AKA Yomogi: shoots are great in salads.
Tuberous Begonia flowers: This was the find of the year for me last year. They are yummy, yummy, yummy and so colorful.
Gladiolus flowers: No kidding! I'm going out to pick some today for my salad...haven't tasted them yet but a good friend and edible gardening pal of mine likes them lots.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2005 at 8:36PM
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I collected a bunch of purslane and sorrel from my flower garden, at least I think that is what they are. I want to make a salad with them but my husband won't hear of it. He says I will poison myself (lol) How can I be sure i have the right weeds. They sure look like the ones i've seen on pictures.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 2:58PM
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I had a few comments about your original question. In regards to daylilies, the entire plant is edible. The tubers (little finger shaped things that hang down under the plant) can be eaten raw or cooked. If you select the
white, immature ones that don't have the skin yet, they are the best for salads. Just wash and cut in half into the salad (very tasty). The crown of the plant where all the leaves come together is about 4 inches long, and when peeled of the outer leaves, is white and crisp. Simply slice this part into the salad also (has a kind of peppery
taste-very good with a french dressing). I never cared much for the flowers myself. If you will plant and harvest plants of the old fashioned orange (hemerocallis fulva) daylily that can be found growing wild in some places, this is the best type to eat.
Other good salad perennials include: salad burnet, perennial arugula,(haven't tried these two yet),but the rest I have eaten many times: cattail stalks (simply pull a bunch of the leaves, and it will disjoint from the base of the plant). Peel off the outer layers, and cut off all the green parts, leaving the white/pale green interior section at the base, this part can be sliced into salads (very yummy, and has a cucumber flavor). Good in salads with daylily stalks and roots!! Dandelion crowns (before they come up in the spring, the little bunch of yellowish leaves that are right on top of the root are great in salads--a little bitter, but good with a sweet dressing--(ate them a lot in college). I agree with the recommendation of purslane!! Great in salads, or lightly stir-fried.
Tell your husband to lighten up: these are good foods, and
easy to identify--no more difficult to spot than the differences between head lettuce and cabbage. Even kids can be taught the differences! :) Hope you try some of these.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2007 at 12:52AM
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karate626(7A Maryland)

Daylily leafs and wild violet leafs are good in salads!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 9:31PM
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