Jump start spring with lettuces, radishes, onions
Salad bowl favorites
Choosing loose leaf or cutting lettuce
Perfect salads and salad dressings
There will be a dozen different lettuces in my spring garden. Most of these leafy greens are never available at the supermarket. You may be able to find loose leaf lettuces and tender baby greens at farmers markets.
Choose a variety of lettuces to stretch your springtime salad days. Some lettuces and more cold tolerant, even able to take a light frost. Others will carry you into summer. A mix of colors, shapes and sizes will create endless spring salads.
The first harvests from your garden every year will be salad makings, Mesclun salad mixes, tender butterhead and young romaine lettuce taste even better with this salad dressing blend accent.
The seeds of these lettuces are fast-growing but do not form heads. Sow thinly either in a container, a block or a row. Since lettuce seed are small, it is easy to crowd seeds when planting. Keep thinning the lettuce seedlings. Toss the thinnings in a salad or on a sandwich.
Continue thinning lettuce until the plants are about 5 or 6 inches apart. Now try cut-and-come-again harvesting. Cut each rosette just above the ground. You can expect two or three more harvests like this before lettuce starts to bolt (make flowers and seed).
Cut only what you will use, this lettuce is not a good keeper. Rinse a couple of times then, dry leaves. Lettuce is ready for dressing.
If you do choose to store the lettuces, loosely wrap in a damp paper towel and place in a zip lock bag, refrigerate.
Perfect for salads. Making herb vinegar.
Mesclun and radishes
Grow three varieties of lettuce
Oak Leaf Lettuce
"Merveille De Quatre Saisons"
"Farmer's Market Blend"
Hanging baskets of baby greens
Simple salad dressing
The perfect salad dressing starts with two basics, oil and acid
3/4 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil (3 parts oil)
1⁄4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (to 1 part acid)
From this basic recipe of 3 to 1, the recipe opens to your creativity. As a herb gardener, I am going to substitute herb vinegar for the lemon juice in the same proportion. LINK more herb vinegar information.
Herb vinegar, garlic, olive oil dressing
A salad dressing is simple and light . It will highlight the seasons best salads greens. Start with this basic recipe.
1 clove garlic
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 cup herb vinegar
3/4 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil
Using a fork, crush garlic* clove. Add garlic, salt, pepper and vinegar in a pint jar. Shake to mix. Add about a ¼ cup of olive oil to jar. Vigorously shake. Repeat twice. Shake until contents are emulsified.
Strain dressing through a fine sieve, discard solids, or just remove smashed garlic glove. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator. Use within 3 days. Makes about 1 cups.
An immersion blender will fit in the pint jar, if you would rather blend than shake the dressing until emulsified. If not using dressing right away, cover and refrigerate, whisking or shaking again just before use.
* CAUTION: There are a large number of cases of botulism every year because home-prepared mixtures of garlic in oil. The FDA recommends that these garlic and oil blends be made fresh for use and not left at room temperatures. Any leftovers should be refrigerated and used within three days, frozen for longer storage, or discarded.
How to Make Tarragon Vinegar.