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Edible flowers top this pretty salad

Recipe: Spring strawberry salad with fresh violets

Plate with strawberries, violets, lettuce and radishes
As fresh and pretty as spring: Strawberry salad with fresh violets. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

This vibrant spring salad is as flavorful as it is colorful. Both cut crosswise, fresh strawberries and radishes contrast nicely in both taste and texture. They look especially pretty combined with the rich greens of fresh spinach and leaf lettuce. (The variety used in this recipe: Red butterhead.)

The garnish is a conversation starter: Fresh violets. The white and blue varieties of Viola are edible.

Viola alba , the white perennial violet, is native to America’s woodlands. It’s a cast-iron ground cover in low-water gardens. It grows so easily, many gardeners consider it a weed.

If you can’t beat it, eat it. (Just make sure your violets haven’t been exposed to pesticides or herbicides.)
Pick your violets with about ½ inch of stem.

Plunge flowers immediately into ice-cold water. Keep them in cold water until ready to use. Other varieties of Viola may be substituted for violets; the smaller the varieties, the tastier.

White violets in a bowl of water
Put just-picked violets into very cold water to keep
them fresh.

Spring strawberry salad with fresh violets
Makes 2 to 4 servings


4 to 6 strawberries, hulled and sliced crosswise
2 radishes, sliced
1 scallion, chopped
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 cups lettuce, roughly cut or torn into pieces
1 cup baby spinach leaves, roughly cut or torn into pieces

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon seasoning salt

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh violets or violas (optional)


In a large bowl, put sliced strawberries, radishes, scallions, lettuce and spinach. Toss lightly.

In a jar, combine olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar and seasoning salt. Cover jar and shake to combine. Pour dressing over salad and toss lightly again.

Divide salad onto plates. Garnish with violets or violas. Serve immediately.


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A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

Taste Spring! E-cookbook


Find our spring recipes here!