Ginger broccoli salad…and edible flowers.

A salad is something that can be eaten at any time…mealtimes or snack times and even those times you feel like eating out of boredom. Go for a salad. It is safe. It is my ultimate favorite dish, summer through winter.

In our home we are always stocked to the brim with ingredients for a salad. Vegetables, greens, leaves, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, cheeses, flowers and herbs, essential oils, but even more so… an interesting vinaigrette and little “addition” to prevent a salad from becoming boring.

This time… a salad with broccoli and preserved ginger, a pungent ginger vinaigrette and a scattering of dried edible flowers for some interest.

Suggestions:

  • Use a mix of broccoli and cauliflowers florets.
  • Use broccolini instead of broccoli.
  • Omit the ginger and use a firm fruit in season. Use some juice or pulp of the same fruit in the vinaigrette.
  • Try different herbal/flower teas or infusions as a base for a vinaigrette.
  • Use fresh flowers instead of dry dried ones.
  • Add some fried bacon pieces or thin strips of pancetta for a salty addition.
  • Serve the broccoli still warm for a salad with more substance and sprinkle the dried flowers just before serving.
  • Marinate the broccoli in the vinaigrette for 15-30 minutes before serving at room temperature.

***********************************************************************

…and edible flowers:

Nothing can be easier than making your own dried flowers to use in vinaigrette, salads, and sauces and any other food decoration, with only one rule to keep in mind: make sure the flowers are edible! sometimes the leaves can be used, but not the flowers or vice versa. Make sure you’re not allergic to some flower or pollen. Don’t use flowers from florists which may  be sprayed with pesticides. Your own garden or nature is the place to gather your flowers. Whether you’re in summer or winter, you can always find some flowers around you to use in your foods and of course, so much the better, because you DO eat seasonal don’t you?

We all use herbs in our salads, dried and fresh and they are familiar to us. A few lesser known flowers for a vinaigrette are marigolds, lawn daisies, dandelions, pansies, clover, hibiscus, cornflower, mallow, zinnia, tulips, phlox, day lilies, begonia, gardenia, lilacs, magnolias, fuchsias…

and of course, the well known violets, nasturtiums, borage, lavender, sages, sunflowers,roses, camomile, marguerites, geraniums, honeysuckle, poppies, courgette…

I’m showing a few that I’m drying now which are in season:

I pick my flowers when I dead head them…snip off the drying ones. Pick them during midday, wash them, let dry.  I then use a scissors to cut the flowers off right behind the petals, as to keep only the softer tips of the petals. I mostly use only the petals of the flowers to dry, except for the small lawn daisy which looks very cute scattered on a salad or sorbet. To keep its daisy shape, I let them dry face down with a little pressure to keep them open . The harder and tougher stems aren’t always enjoyable in a salad or sauce, so make sure all hard stems are removed.  Spread the petals on a large tray, covered with a absorbing paper or kitchen towel. Leave in a dark, cool and dry place. The petals dry very quickly and can then be stored separately in small glass containers to use on different occasions and with different dishes. Store in cool dark spot.

…lawn daisy (paquerette)

…pansies(pensees)

…dandelions(pissenlit)…

…marigold(souci)…

…clover(trefle)…

When you’re not in the mood for drying your own flowers, you can run off to the organic store or any herbalist where you will find interesting tea infusions and herbal infusions which you can buy.

…hibiscus…

…mallow(mauve)…

…cornflower(bleuet)

à la prochaine!

Ronelle

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21 responses

  1. Tellement De Saison.. chez vous..chez nous.. pas tout de suite:)
    I love edible flowers..you have suggested new ones for me.
    The salad looks scrumptious also.

    Blooms always pretty things up..

    04/05/2011 at 14:48

  2. Oh wow Ronelle, this ginger broccoli salad looks delicious! I had no idea of all the edible flowers one can use in a salad…thanks for showing us and giving us all the tips!
    Ixx

    04/05/2011 at 15:08

  3. Oh, that salad is fabulous! I really like that addition of delicate flowers.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    04/05/2011 at 16:02

  4. What a delightful, spring-time salad, Ronelle. I love the color of those beautiful flowers. Pansies always make me smile and nasturtium is one of my favorite edible flowers but nothing can match the color of that gorgeous bluette!

    04/05/2011 at 17:12

  5. Hello dear Ronelle,

    Thought I would just pop by for a visit and some food-for-thought. Wonderful and simple posting.

    I too am drying my edible flower petals, but when I went outside to pick today the wind was blowing at about 50 mph and the sun was blazing. Everything looked pitiful. I’ve got my racks full of beautiful flowers and was hoping to finish enough to put them up in jars.

    Sendin love across the miles,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

    04/05/2011 at 17:29

  6. Your edible flowers are really nice. That makes a beautiful salad.

    04/05/2011 at 17:33

  7. That is such a lovely salad! Loving all the ingredients… especially those flowers!

    New to your blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

    04/05/2011 at 21:21

  8. We eat salads so often I think we may be growing bunny ears! ;-)

    05/05/2011 at 03:30

  9. Ronelle,
    What a lovely lesson on how to dry edible flowers for a salad. I knew about a few of the edible ones such as nasturtiums and pansies, but I had no idea about many of the others, such as day lilies and honeysuckle, both of which are easily found where I live.

    It’s not every day I actually learn something new in cooking. Thank you.
    xo
    Sam

    05/05/2011 at 11:56

  10. Your salad looks so yummy … a must try. We too are pesticide free and love sprinkling/eating edible flowers. It’s May wine time here … love my sweet woodruff! Life a bit crazy … it’s delightful to catch up.

    05/05/2011 at 15:33

  11. I am so in love with the idea of edible flowers and definately something I am keen to learn more about so thanks for your post. First visit to your blog and I shall be back.

    05/05/2011 at 17:02

  12. Wow… Ronelle what a great post, i’m always confused about edible flowers. Beautiful salad, looks so fresh and yummy.

    05/05/2011 at 18:29

  13. o so mooi en inspirernd…al die fraai blommetjies, en ek WENS ek kon van die blou blommetjies gekry het…def op my lysie vir volgende keer. dankie vir baie mooi pos..baie liefde Colette ~Suid Afrika x

    05/05/2011 at 21:53

  14. The photos are absolutely gorgeous! And this salad sounds amazing, I would love to try it!

    06/05/2011 at 02:17

  15. Thank you everybody…for the visits…comments…support…it is all appreciated!
    Ronelle

    06/05/2011 at 16:46

  16. This broccoli and ginger salad is gorgeous!!Yum.

    08/05/2011 at 14:57

  17. Such a beautiful salad with those colorful, edible flowers. I need to learn more about using edible flowers – thank you for the inspiration. Enjoyed your post and the suggestions your shared. =)

    09/05/2011 at 08:39

  18. HI Ronelle, this looks wonderful. I just had salad with chicken for dinner and had put pansies in it. My husband picked out the pansies and didn’t eat them. The rascal… you have given me more ideas for flowers to try. thank you, take care, Love,Diana

    10/05/2011 at 00:31

  19. I love the thought of having everything on hand for salads at all times! The ginger and tea in the dressing sound great with broccoli, and your edible flowers are beauties.

    10/05/2011 at 17:07

  20. What a beautiful salad…love edible flowers they brighten up a dish so much :)

    13/05/2011 at 23:20

  21. Hi Ronelle – I love this post. I do use edible flowers from my garden (rose, lavender, geranium) – but you introduced me to two other flowers that I have but did not know were edible – lawn daisy (we call santa barbara daisy) and fuchsia – which is so beautiful I never considered would be edible. Thanks so much! Ooh I want to make a fuchsia salad!
    LL

    16/05/2011 at 06:29

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