The Perfect Spring Greens

The gardener to King James II advised that there should be at least thirty-five ingredients in an ordinary salad. The leaves, flowers, roots, and stems of all fresh cultivated or wild herbs may be used in salads.

The more varieties, plant parts, and colours you use, the more complex the taste and healing power of the mix. In fact, like the delicate art of perfumery or blending herbs for teas and seasonings, combining herbs in a salad can be just as fun. The more you mix and taste, the more skilful you become.

Here are a few plants to purchase at Farmers' Markets, or to consider growing now. Use the leaves:

bloody dock                           orach

chicory                                   perilla

good king henry                    purslane

lemon balm                            salad burnet

mustard greens                      watercress


To add depth of taste, add one or two finely chopped or shredded roots of the following plants:

angelica                                  daikon or regular radish

beets                                       coriander

burdock                                   parsley