Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Salad leaves - rabbit food?

When was the last time you ate a salad leaf and concentrated on the taste?

Granted, there are finer things to chew over but at the cost of up to £2 a bag, I'd expect every damn leaf in that bag to make my taste buds crack open the beer and celebrate.

To be honest, most salad leaves taste a bit crap on their own. They need friends. A slick bit of oil, a sharp flavour or two and then they may take their place at the table. Except rocket. The daddy of salad leaves which can turn up to dinner naked and wow the crowd.

If you don't grow anything, then do your bit to end the scandal that is rip off salad bags and start with a packet of rocket seeds and a container of compost. Even a small one should work I reckon.

Salad leaves after a few weeks
The thing I realised, in one of those light bulb moments staring at the seed packets in the garden centre, is that you can start to create your own salads leaf by leaf (yes, this might appear even more pointless than spending more than 2 seconds chewing but bear with me).

Never again do you have to pick out the watercress from your watercress, spinach and rocket bag. Or the herbs from herb salad pack you picked up by accident because someone else left it in the wrong place.

I've planted rhubarb chard and rocket, and last year had mustard leaf. I've got a mixed salad container which gives me the bulk - the throne for the rocket if you like. I have some beetroot in the ground, and the leaves are apparently also tasty. I even have pea shoots, although I'm actually after the peas. But you can actually buy the shoots! I mean, that's not even the whole plant. The veg equivalent of buying a decent semi sticking in an extra door and bathroom and selling it off as two exclusive studio flats for twice the price.

I'm going to try rocket in a small pot indoors to see if it works, and I'll post the results on here in a month or so.

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The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.