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Edible flowers make summer salads shine

Salad with chive blossom vinegar dressing
Salad with chive blossom vinegar dressing
© Linda Duffy

I was out in the garden this morning and saw that many of my greens were ready for picking. Along with the red and green leaf lettuce, I planted kale, mustard, radishes, and I also have chives growing in the herb garden.

When throwing together a salad, it is easy to focus on the vegetables, but don't forget about the variety of edible flowers that can brighten up your salad as well as add flavor. High end restaurants often feature edible flowers like nasturtiums and violets, but bachelor buttons, chamomile, roses, lilacs, dandelion, and squash blossoms are also edible.

In the salad I took with me to work today, chive blossoms were the featured flower. While you can eat them whole or sprinkle the little purple petals on top of your dishes, I used them to make chive blossom vinegar instead. 

To make chive blossom vinegar, simply harvest chive blossoms and give them a good rinse. Pack them in to a canning jar, and pour warmed (but not boiling) white vinegar over the top. Seal up your jar and wait a few weeks then strain and put in a decorative bottle. The chive flavor as well as the purple/pink color of the blossoms will infuse the vinegar giving you a beautiful and tasty ingredient to use on your summer salads.

Add some extra virgin olive oil, cracked pepper, sea salt and a pinch of dried stevia leaf to your chive blossom vinegar to make an easy low carb dressing. This is far more nutritious than any commercially available salad dressing since it does not contain sugar, high fructose corn syrup or soy oil.