What can be easier, or more pleasant, than making a quick mixed salad with whatever you have at hand? The French call mixed salads une salade composée -isn't that sweet? As if the salad were a musical composition, all the flavours melding into visual and gustatory harmony. The salad pictured above was made with a few pickings from my garden and CSA basket.
Such as pretty, colourful cherry tomatoes.
A slightly overgrown - in my opinion - cucumber.
Edible flowers from herbs and vegetables.
The whole is lightly seasoned with a splash of rice wine vinegar (use any mild vinegar), and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. No need for more, not even oil.
I don't really like cucumber peels: they get stuck in my teeth, and are extremely painful to pry out. I've always peeled and seeded cucumbers, but before they get chucked in the compost bin, the peelings are put to a secondary use: they make great moisturizing facials and plasters (you can use the peel of any watery squash for this, including melons.). You can either use the peels as is, or blend them into a paste; smear on your face, a sunburn, or any dry, itchy patch of skin, and leave to dry out for ten to fifteen minutes. Your skin will feel replenished and soothed.
Not all flowers are edible, but an easy rule is if you can eat the leaf, chances are the flower is also edible. Most summer herbs are flowering right now. It often advised to remove the flowers to preserve the flavour of the leaves (flowering is a sign that the plant is ageing, and can lead to stronger flavoured, bitter herbs), but it would be a waste to throw the blooms out. They are just as flavourful as the plants themselves, and they are so beautiful. I was told that the flowers of scented sweet peas (grown for their blooms and not for their peas) were toxic, however, the flowers of garden peas and beans are edible. Flowers and seed pods from the crucifer family are also edible: cauliflower and broccoli are common examples; but radish, mustard and kale produce edible flowers; their seed pods add interesting textures to any plate.