Home   |   About Us   |   GROW: The Book   |   Blog   |   Join Us   |   Shop   |   Forum Rules

How things have changed... "salat" greens — The Grow Network Community
a free community call lead by Marjory Wildcraft - LIVE RIGHT NOW

register here➥ howtopreparefor2021.com

How things have changed... "salat" greens

judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,016 admin
edited November 2020 in Vegetables

According to John Evelyn, in 1699, more than 73 plants (both cultivated and wild) were included in the "salat" of the typical English diet.

That is really impressive! Gosh... now we have lettuce... and what... 5 other plants in the grocery store for salad? And, that is if one even eats salad - a lot folks don't


  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 - in our family Veggie-salads are enjoyed year-round :) & as much as possible with Romaine lettuce bed & topped with the rest of the rainbow 😀 incldg. cherry-tomato & mini-carrots & yellow bell pepper & Button mushrooms & cauliflower & English cuke & avocado & red onions etc. (Already posted 1 of our photos here before).

    And when nothing is reliable, homegrown Broccoli-sprouts are the best nutrition you can eat as well.

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,016 admin

    Me too... I love my harvesting stroll through the yard and the meadows at the woods' edge when I'm home in the mountains! Greens, herbs, flowers, ramps and wild onions, mushrooms... a little but of it all goes in my basket

  • I'll bet most people cannot identify 73 edible plants these days - let alone salad, or salat - greens.

    I've started to see the tiniest bit of green in my yard! Cannot wait to see what I find in a week or tow.

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,016 admin

    Well, @rainbow and @Mary Linda Bittle , how many can we come up with?

    Lettuces... obviously









    Shepherd's Purse

    Red clover (s)










    … maybe cattail, touch me not and milkweed shoots... fiddle head ferns



    I'm blanking and nowhere near 70!

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    oh dear, I forgot to mention PARSLEY. I love it so much that occasionally I omit the lettuce, & have me a mostly Parsley-salad LOL

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,016 admin
  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,016 admin
    edited March 2020

    Oh, Good King Henry... that an essential English green! Maybe burdock... linden

  • blevinandwombablevinandwomba Central PaPosts: 640 ✭✭✭✭

    Here is a rather long (but pretty interesting, in my opinion) discussion of salads in the middle ages. Short version- they ate them, and they were usually a wide variety of greens, flowers, and herbs dressed with oil and vinegar. Most of the recipes don't list lettuce!

    And a much more succinct article

    a selection from the above: two 14th century salad recipes


    Take persel, sawge, grene garlec, chibolles, oynouns, leek, borage, myntes, porrettes, fennel, and toun cressis, rew, rosemarye, purslarye: laue and waische hem clene. Pike hem. Pluk hem small wi* *yn honde, and myng hem wel with rawe oile; lay on vyneger and salt, and serue it forth.

    Form of Cury (14th century English manuscript, Middle English)

    Translation: take parsley, sage, green garlic, spring onions, onions, leek,borage, mint, young leeks or green onions, fennel, garden cress, rue, rosemary, purslane; wash them clean (in water). Pick them (I think this means to pick over them to remove large pieces of stem, foreign matter, etc). Pluck them small with your hand, and mix them well with raw oil; add vinegar and salt, and serve it forth.

     In her commentary on this recipe in her book Pleyn Delit, Constance Hieatt warns that "grene garlic" would be wild garlic, much milder than the modern variety, and she also suggests that some versions of this recipe in other manuscripts also call for the leaves of spinach (I'd suggest baby spinach, myself). 

    On preparing a salad of several greens.

    A preparation of several greens is made with lettuce, bugloss, mint, catmint, fennel, parsley, sisymbrium, origan, chervil, cicerbita which doctors call teraxicon, plantain, morella, and several other fragrant greens, well washed and pressed and put in a large dish. Sprinkle them with a good deal of salt and blend with oil, then pour vinegar over it all whenit has sat a little; it should be eaten and well chewed because wild greens are tough. This sort of salad needs a little more oil than vinegar. It is more suitable in winter than in summer, because it requires much digestion and this is stronger in winter. Platina, De Honesta Volupta, 1475 (original in Latin).

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 548 ✭✭✭✭

    A couple more; young Lambs Quarters, Sheep's Sour.

  • KarinKarin New ZealandPosts: 272 ✭✭✭

    And most of those leaves would be plucked from the wild!

  • csinclair461csinclair461 Posts: 101 ✭✭✭

    Add cranesbill, nipplewort, chickweed, sorrel and sow thistle :) Even california poppy! I have only used poppy as medicine so far, but it has been used in salads.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texasseeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 764 ✭✭✭✭

    My daughter is always afraid I will poison myself because I'm pulling/picking various things NOT in my garden to eat. She's 35...you'd think she'd be used to it by now 🤣

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,016 admin

    I stopped to chat with a neighbor, who was almost killing himself tearing out wild grape vines. I mentioned that I love those grapes... seemed a shame. He said, "You can't eat those! They could be poisonous!" I replied, "They are grapes.... so.... nevermind"

  • Gail HGail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭

    @seeker.nancy My kids treat me the same way. On their most charitable days, they consider me eccentric. A couple of years ago my daughter said that she would take me to go see the new foraging movie for my birthday. I perked right up and said, "There's a foraging movie?!?" She replied, "Yes. It's called A Nut in the Woods."

    I tell them someday they'll be glad they know me! 😁

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texasseeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 764 ✭✭✭✭

    @Gail H that is hilarious! I can see my kids saying something like that. Years ago I was working in an office that was not directly in San Antonio (before it built up so much). The office backed up to a pasture...completely wild. There was a picnic table where everyone liked to take their break. I would walk the fence line, commenting on the edibles as I found and ate them (wild persimmons which are black but my favorite forage!). There was a LOT of teasing but I just smiled and did my thing. One day after a particularly intense session of teasing everyone headed back inside. As I was walking in a woman pulled me aside and said that they were teasing now but they would all be coming to see me if there was no food to be had. I just laughed and said probably. I learned from my father, who was a high school science teacher. His love of plants and nature in general started as a small boy. By the time I got to high school he was teaching an ecology class that he developed. He had also written identifying "keys" to every plant in the county that he could find. People would bring him every weird thing they found lol. I remember Dad and I walking into the pasture to release a non-poisonous snake, I remember baby armadillos, and the list goes on. I am proud to be his daughter and proud to have learned what I have learned. He also instilled in me an unquenchable desire to learn. These things make me happy 😊

  • Iris WeaverIris Weaver Posts: 32 ✭✭✭

    @blevinandwomba I don't know just when lettuce became tamed for the salad plate, but before that you wouldn't have wanted to include much of it at all in your salad. Try a wild lettuce now--even a very young plant can be quite bitter. But that bit of bitterness can be just what you want to add to a salad today.

  • Iris WeaverIris Weaver Posts: 32 ✭✭✭

    @Gail H Hey, I will be that Nut in the Woods any day! You could have asked them "What, which nut? Hickory, black walnut, chestnut, acorn..." that might have stopped them for a minute!

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,016 admin

    Like wild lettuce, but more as a medicinal

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 724 admin

    I didn't see pansies on the list (unless I just missed it ??), but those make an awfully pretty salad addition!

  • MissPatriciaMissPatricia Posts: 108 ✭✭✭

    My favorite green is arugula. Yum! That is one of those "either you love it or you hate it" vegetables, much like Brussels sprouts, which I also love. I also grow Romaine lettuce, kale, and spinach for lettuce greens and add whatever else I have on hand. I would like to try pansies, nasturtiums, violets but so far have lacked the nerve to eat flowers. Technically, I do eat flowers, I think, but I don't think of them as flowers. Will also eat dandelion leaves.

  • MissPatriciaMissPatricia Posts: 108 ✭✭✭

    After many years of gardening, and failing a lot, and succeeding some, too, I have come to realize the importance of several things: starting seeds early, using good soil (amending), and weeding diligently. My three favorite You tube gardeners are Paul Gautschi, Charles Dowding (England, no-dig, soft-spoken), and Jessica (Roots and Refuge). They are great teachers and encouragers. Paul Gautschi was the first that I listened to, and his message was the antithesis to all I had been taught. Paul G. and Charles D. reduce the amount of work one has to do. I am still learning, and hoping to have a more successful garden this year.

  • blevinandwombablevinandwomba Central PaPosts: 640 ✭✭✭✭

    So @Iris Weaver I got curious and did a little poking around the internet. Garden lettuce is actually a different species from wild lettuce, though the same genus, and has been cultivated since Egyptian days(if Wikipedia hasn't steered me wrong.) It has been eaten raw at least since the Romans( Apicius has recipes) How different if was then versus now, I have no idea.

  • bear_ba_lootbear_ba_loot Posts: 4 ✭✭✭

    I find that the wild edibles often start overcrowding my garden beds,

    so I'm often weeding the garden to make a salad or for sandwich greens!

    (usually includes chickweed or purslane, plantain, sorrel, dock & dandelion)

    Here in southwestern Portugal the old-timers grow a salad green called martuço,

    which is in the carrot family. My Portuguese teacher (a botanist) gave me seeds from an old farmer lady, which I started growing, too. Kinda bitter, very beautiful lace-like leaves growing in a rosette, looks kinda like cilantro but bitter.

    I've grown lots of greens for seeds (especially mustards, arugula & kale) that I then scatter throughout the yard along the fringes of planting beds (so I know they'll get some water)

    & my husband delights in picking "wild" arugula & kale growing behind the roses or along a walking path. I've gotten plantain to take over portions of the old driveway (that we simply use as a walking path, preferring to walk up the hill to our house) & I've spread the peppermint from the orchard into the base of the driveway, it even grows along the road! (No, we don't eat from the roadside, but the flowers are beneficial & the seeds are more durable for spreading farther along the roadway.

  • Gail HGail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭

    The book "Backyard Foraging" by Ellen Zachos has a lot of ideas for edible plants commonly found in suburban yards. Two that may be available now in North America are hosta and Rose of Sharon leaves. The latter aren't too spectacular, but if your salad contains a lot of pungent greens, they can help tone things down.

Sign In or Register to comment.