Wild Waldolf Salad
This wild Waldolf inspired salad is making the most of my gardens abundance of apples, grapes, celery, lettuce, wax begonia and fuchsias of which the latter has, to my delight taken over a wild patch that the goats have cleared. The wax begonias give the salad a delightful tang and nothing beats apples straight from the tree. I'm always adding edible weeds and flowers to my food they give us so many amazing health benefits as well as colour, texture and interest to the meal and these two quite wild flowers have invaded under utilised little nooks and cranny's around my wild garden and this salad is the perfect use for them.
My friend Anna put the idea of Waldolf salad in my head a couple months back as she has had an abundance of celery this year and I just had to make one and most of the ingredients were already growing in my garden.
Good walnuts are one of my favourite nuts, my Nan and Pop used to have the biggest walnut tree and I would love to collect and crack them, fresh walnuts are an absolute treat but do beware rancid ones are definitely not, which unfortunately is how many people have experience them. If you can't get them in shells go for light coloured nuts which aren't shrivelled. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals beneficial to health.
I have been absolutely loving cute little sour begonias lately.
Wax begonias (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum) are one of the most popular houseplants and their leaves and flowers are eaten all over the world in various ways. Eaten widely in South America, Japan, China, India, Indonesia and Myanmar where they use it like spinach, eaten fried salads and herb flavouring. Children love their tart tangy flavour, I recently introduced a bunch of kids to adding sour flowers to their rainbow wraps, they loved them! The tart sap can be used to curdle milk for cheese making.
Begonia has high vitamin C, luteolin, quercetin and beta-sitosterol, which benefit the respiratory system, and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and protective properties against spike protein. The sap is used to treat sore throats and a diuretic. In the West Indies those who are under the weather use Begonia leaves as a tea for colds. Roots and tubers of Begonias have been a mainstay of folk medicine for centuries. The sap has been put on wounds, and concoctions used for cough, consumption, and fever. Shoots have been used to treat upset stomachs and enlarged spleens. The acid-based sap has been used to treat toothaches and gum aliments. It is anti-bacterial. Elements in the Begonia have been proven to have anti-tumor activity and it is commonly used in the West Indies by herbalists to treat cancer.
My first interactions with fuchsia was using the flowers as ballerinas in the garden, pulling off most of her legs until only two remained, incidentally to enhance their flavour you remove all her legs and and any green bits and the stamen of this pretty underrated edible flower. The berries are also edible, sweet and tasty. New Zealand has a native tree fuchsia, kotukutuku, and the berries are called konini and are eaten as food and used medicinally. The berries are tastiest when they are dark in colour.
The stunning colours and graceful shape of fuchsias make them beautiful for using as a garnish or just added abundantly to salads and desserts. Fuchsia’s flowers are high in anthocyanins which are strong antioxidants, which give these flowers their distinctive red, blue and purple colours.
Fuchsia has antiseptic, diuretic and its antimicrobial effects are related to tannins, which help the kidneys eliminate salt and water through urination. Fuchsia can help lower body temperature so is good for helping withstand fever. Ways to use this plant includes drinking as a tea. An infusion can be made from fuchsia flowers, leaves, and berries. Whether they are fresh or dried, let them steep in hot water for around five minutes. The different components of the plant can be infused with oil for topical use. Not only will this soothe any skin irritations, but it will also moisturize the skin effectively. This oil can also be made into a salve to be used on rashes and other skin ailments including calming itchy and inflamed skin or crush the fuchsia flowers and petals as a poultice. Place on the skin and hold in place with a bandage or cling film to treat blisters, rashes, and other external problems.
Wild Waldolf Salad
Having fruit in salads is a total no go for some but I love the different textures and flavours they bring. This chunky salad with its easy creamy mayo dressing is a perfect meal on its own on a hot summers day or to have with minted new potatoes or kumara wedges.
Plant-based | Gluten-free
Gather your ingredients and prepare them into a salad bowl:
1 lettuce, leaves (butterhead, cos or any lettuce you have to hand)
1 cup celery, sliced
1/2 cup grapes, whole or sliced in half
2 apples, sliced
1 yellow capsicum, sliced
1 cup fresh walnuts, raw
1/2 cup wax begonia leaves and flowers
1/3 cup fuchsia flowers (berries too if you have them)
1/3 cup dandelion or other edible weeds, roughly chopped
2 spring onions
a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground black pepper
Drizzle with the dressing and toss together to serve.
Gather your ingredients and measure all of the ingredients into a 400ml jar:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp unrefined sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice + zest of lemons
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
Secure the lid and shake vigorously for one minute. Keep in the fridge and bring out one hour before using. This dressing will make enough for a couple of salads.