Blueberry, Basil and Nasturtium Salad–The flavours of Summer!

by Julie on August 21, 2011

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Oh summer…. I wish you would never leave for the delightful tasty produce you nurture makes me soooo happy!–and so does the sunshine!  I’m back from our family RV trip to the interior of BC, which was blast! The kids enjoyed the experience and met friends in the campsites and hubby and I were able to observe the wonderful bond between our two youngest children grow stronger–they were giggling summer buddies, not just siblings.  As a mom, I concern myself with the age gap of 5 years between my daughter and her older brother who is 10.  When I observe harmony between the two of them it warms my heart.  Is this you too?  Do you have age gaps or different sexes in your family that you yearn to see get along and enjoy one another instead of the fighting and bickering?? Some how a family vacation seems to make all this disappear, do you agree??
While we were away, things were growing like crazy out in my garden–Yay!  It’s only now that I can explore the peppery taste of nasturtiums on a salad and pick fresh greens like kale, chard and leafy lettuces from my tiny plot to lay in lengths across a platter.  Once winter and it’s crisp fresh air is here, we will yearn for this time, thus we must savour it and the bounty of the season.  Because I write these weekly posts I feel so much more connected to my food, my garden’s yield and our local produce because I am constantly perusing for tasty finds and brainstorming recipe ideas, while sharing via photos, the exquisiteness of the harvest.  I love writing this blog for this reason as it sparks excitement within when I grow or come across beautiful produce and then create a recipe with success!  And YOU are the icing on the cake when you share your appreciation and kind feedback for my efforts.

Because I am such a veggie girl and the alkaline lifestyle incorporates mostly fresh veggies, summer is the ultimate time to eat healthfully.  This salad is the epitome of healthy summer flavours.  I think it actually tastes like summer would taste, if summer had a flavour!

Blueberry, Basil & Nasturtium Salad
Yield: Two large Salads or four small
variety of fresh summer leafy greens
10 lg basil leaves
handful of fresh picked nasturtium flowers
4-5 chives, some with blossoms if possible
1/2 cup blueberries per person
For the dressing
8 lg basil leaves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup blueberries for dressing
juice of one lemon
pinch of fine celtic sea salt
grind of black pepper, optional
Method
Wash and spin greens, chill til ready to plate salad.  Gently rinse and pat nasturtiums & chives with towel and chill.  Place dressing ingredients in high speed blender and combine until smooth and creamy.  Place greens & basil leaves on plates, top with nasturtiums and blueberries and a couple chives and serve with a generous pour of dressing with extra for guests to add.
This dressing tends to thicken up so keep a fork handy to stir it and make it right before serving.  Thin with additional olive oil or a little water if needed.  Dressing keeps for 2 days but will require thinning.

Eat your greens!  They are soooo good for you–full of rich chlorophyl that builds blood–our river of life–and when you can find them as fresh as this, right now, from the local farmers with dirt still clinging to them, you know you are getting the nutrients your body is craving.  Always ask your farm stand if they spray their crops.  Be sure you are talking to someone in the stand that knows.  Often the stands are manned by teens as a summer job so don’t be shy to ask them to find the answers for you.  In most cases though, the smaller farmers don’t spray but it’s best to know for sure.  If in doubt try the next stand.  Many of the farmers are not certified organic but they don’t spray and this means more available nutrients in the produce and no harmful toxins.

If you have a garden patch of your own this salad may be a cinch for you to whip up.  I often tear my greens but with this salad I couldn’t resist the opportunity to lay the gorgeous leaves from my garden across the plate.  Just provide a good knife to dine with and you and your guests can cut the salad greens as you go.

If you haven’t picked or purchased your blueberry flats it’s not too late.  The berries in my area, BC in the Pacific Northwest, may be around til early September since they were so late this year.  I put a few flats in the freezer for our smoothies this winter alongside raspberries and strawberries and even a few cherries!

Although I’m not so sure I’ll have enough since we sooo love them and I don’t want to run out like last year.  I may just have to pay another visit.  Have You been to the blueberry farm yet?

Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants, you probably know that, but they also provide an excellent dose of vitamin C, manganese, fibre and vitamin E.  Blueberries when frozen, still maintain their healthful properties, but they lose most of them when cooked or baked into desserts so do your best to eat them raw in your recipes to maximize your nutrient uptake.  Of course now and again a baked berry crumble is a nice treat but you can make this raw crumble with blueberries and it’s even more delicious than the cooked version!  Choose organic for optimal antioxidants as a recent study showed that organic berries have a much higher concentration of nutrients.  If you are a diabetic blueberries are an excellent fruit to choose among other berries as they are a low glycemic index food and help to lower blood sugar levels.  Even if you do not suffer from diabetes blueberries make a great choice in place of many much sweeter fruits and are considerably lower on the acidic scale than many other fruits in this alkaline foods chart.  For lots more info on the benefits of blueberries take a peek here.

When I was gathering the greens I was able to harvest a nice handful of nasturtiums for this salad.  However, I have also seen market stands selling nice bags full of the blooms for summer salads.  If  they are gently misted and in a sealed ziploc with lots of air and space they will keep for a couple days once picked.  I luuuv how they make your salad look so darned pretty!

I also had a few sweet peas that had bloomed from my small vines.  They are one of my very favourite summer flowers for their incredible summer scent that I just can’t get enough of.

Off I go now to the market to find some more yummy, summer goodies for me to savour.  My garden veggies boxes are so tiny that I have only a few goodies to harvest.  One day I’ll have a bigger patch!  I hope you have time to hit the market this weekend.

Happy Summer!

Julie

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Preeti August 25, 2011 at 3:58 am

Love blueberries, must give this salad a try! I adore your gorgeous photographs.

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