Category Archives: Salad

Extreme salad report in Canadian Gardening

After I made my extremest salad in 2003 with 537 ingredients, I sent a press release to various Norwegian and other magazines. The only one that published an article was an article written by Lena Israelsson in a Swedish magazine, at least that’s what I remembered until I found this article when clearing my office in, fittingly (as I’ve just returned from there), Canadian Gardening under the title Hortus Trivialus (salad bar none) ;)


The March 2017 Extreme Salads: Ingredients and preparation!

I had already agreed in the autumn to take part in the culinary program of this year’s Kosmorama Film Festival in Trondheim in collaboration with the leading restaurant Credo. I therefore made my plans to make a diversity salad back then by moving roots and plants of perennials, that I could force early to be ready to harvest in early March, into my cold cellar. The cellar is  basically 4 unheated full size rooms under the house which, in a normal winter, are around 2-4C, perfect for storing vegetables.

Other connected posts:
The Credo/Kosmorama diversity dinner:
The Credo/ Kosmorama Extreme salad (with 105 ingredients):
The Extreme Winter Record Salad (with >140 ingredients):

I’ve divided the ingredients into 11 groups and each are discussed in turn below.  The first group of vegetables were:
These are traditional vegetables, both leafy greens and root crops like potatoes.  I transplant all the leafy greens, like swiss chard, kales, leeks, parsley and chicories  from the garden to pots and wooden boxes full of soil. If the temperature is below about 4C, most of the vegetables go into a hibernation state and I can continue to harvest them when I need them. As the temperature increases many of the plants sprout and in the dark (it’s not necessary to use lights at all) the young growth lacks chlorophyll (are blanched). Here are a few pictures (the captions tell more):

These are mainly roots and tubers of perennial vegetables dug and planted in large pots, most of which were stored in the cellar before being moved and forced in cool or warm rooms in the house to get an earlier harvest…these included Udo or Aralia cordata (the first time I’ve forced this plant, inspired by the underground forcing chambers in Tokyo) and the only flower, oxlip (Primula elatior). Here are some of these (see the captions for more details):

These are all perennial plants that continue growing in very low temperatures such as kales, horseradish, dandelion and fool’s watercress, which despite the name IS edible (see the captions for more details):

Lime leaves are reckoned by many to be the most tasty tree leaves (at least of common European trees). I have a few trees in the garden, so I cut off a few branches a couple of weeks ago and forced them indoors (with the branches in water)….the leaves appeared just two days before time…

Both seed of annual plants like cress and buckwheat, perennial seed of sweet cicely (stratified / cold treated outside for about 3 months) and bulbils (garlic) were used. All seeds were home grown (see the captions for more details):

Despite the cold weather and snow cover, it was possible to locate various plants that had begun shooting under the snow, mostly different Alliums (onions), but also Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach) that always begins shooting in the autumn. Another winter annual plant (germinating in the autumn and standing green over winter) harvested was Alliaria petiolata (hedge garlic). Also Scorzonera, Tragopogon, Ragged Jack kale and various dandelion cultivars / species were also harvested outside (see the captions for more details):

Apples (variety Aroma) were used fresh, stored in the cellar and a number of dried fruits (soaked in water for a couple of days) were also used. These included sour cherry, plums, apples, saskatoons, raspberry, black raspberry, redcurrant  and bilberry.








These are tubers that are stored at higher temperature like oca, ulluco, Madeira vine, achira, Tigridia and yacon:

Chickweed (Stellaria media) was harvested from a pot of chives in the kitchen, one plant of Ligularia fischeri was found growing in a pot with a cactus (seeded from a perennial in the garden) and one Hablitzia plant had seeded itself with a bay tree.

Harvested chickweed with oxlip flowers








A few plants are permanent house plants in my living room, including Cuban Oregano, Lippia dulcis (Sweet Aztec Herb), Lemon Grass, fresh Bay Leaf and Sugar Cane.
The salad dressing: These flavourings were first boiled with freshly harvested sour tasting seed heads of staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) and a little dried chili. The remaining concentrated water was mixed with olive oil (not home grown although I do have 3 berries ripening on a small tree!) and crushed garlic to make the dressing. Toasted seeds (see below) were mixed in.


The final category is seeds, including seed of opium poppy, caraway, dill and invasive Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) which were first fried quickly in olive oil and then added to boiled quinoa (my own selection “Stephe”) and Henry quinoa (seed of Good King Henry)

Preparation is simple.

1) Wash and cut (I use scissors for leafy greens) all the ingredients and put in the serving bowl
2) Put aside interesting and colourful ingredients which can be used to decorate the salad
3) Prepare the dressing
4) Mix the dressing with the quinoa/seed mix
5) Mix the dressing mix into the salad
6) Decorate the salad
Some pictures can be seen below of the salads at different stages of preparation









Extreme winter record salad










Proof one more time that north is best for growing a diversity of tasty salad greens ;)  Presenting (and claiming) my new world winter salad diversity record, a salad with over 140 ingredients all harvested locally without using any additional energy than is available in my house and cellar (no greenhouse; no freezer; no fermenting involved and only dried fruit and seed used apart from fresh vegetables!). Despite the snow cover I was able to harvest some 20-30 edibles outside. More on how this can be done will be the subject of a separate post!

The salad was presented and eagerly devoured by those who had bought tickets for the Gourmet Cinema event on 9th March 2017 as part of the Trondheim Kosmorama Film Festival! It went so quickly, I didn’t even get a taste myself!

The film was followed by a Food talk with a panel including the film’s director Michael Schwarz, the head chef at Credo Heidi Bjerkan, myself and Carl Erik Nielsen Østlund, the owner of the biodynamic organic farm that supplies much of the food to Credo, moderated by Yoshi!

As Michael Pollan concludes in the film:
Eat Food, Not too much and (as many as possible) mostly vegetables!

The day before, I had prepared a 105 ingredient salad for the festival dinner at Credo restaurant ( While preparing that salad, I made a second salad with the same 105 ingredients…and then added almost 40 additional ingredients that I hadn’t had time to harvest the day before!


The Credo / Kosmorama extreme salad

I also produced this ca.105 ingredients salad for the Credo / Kosmorama diversity dinner last night (8th March 2017), a new winter personal best in winter diversity for me and most of the dinner guests will have doubled their vegetable life lists :)
Another post will show how this is possible so far north with snow on the ground for the last 2 weeks and no use of greenhouse, freezing, fermenting nor extra heat and also discuss some of the plants seen in the picture :)

P1710310 P1710309

Norwegian: Med ca 105 ingredienser alle bortsett fra oliven er produsert hjemme i Malvik, ST er min ny vinter rekord i grønnsaks-mangfold :)

Winter sowing

I’ve sowed 104 new perennial edibles , mostly Alliums… They will spend the rest of the winter outside under my cold frame  and hopefully germinate in the spring!  More information with the pictures on how I do this!


Seed trays made of recycled milk cartons, one side cut away, holes punched in the bottom for drainage, and the ends stapled together…labels made from sour cream / yogurt pots…I’m careful not to put the same plant family together in the sow trays as the seed sometimes wander a bit.
The cold frame which is covered with enviromesh which allows moisture through but keeps birch seed and rodents out…heavy deep snow needs to be removed.





Sonchus “Custard in Greens”

Those that follow this blog will know that I consider common sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) to be a super weed in the sense of its importance as a food and (protective) medicine plant for Homo sapiens. Inspired by the Maori tradition of “cultivating” … or tolerating this weed on their vegetable plots due to its market value…. I actually introduced this plant to my own garden and it is probably now my most used vegetable from July to September!  I wrote 10 pages about it in my book Around the World in 80 plants ;)

There is, however, an ornamental sow thistle called “Custard-in-Greens” (or as the RHS spell it: “Custard ‘n’ green”). I traded seed of this with an ornamental gardener in Holland in 2003, but despite my best efforts to encourage it, its offspring were mostly not variegated. One single plant appeared in 2009, but it didn’t go to seed and I haven’t seen this form since…. I can’t find a source of seed either, so maybe it’s lost :(    (Admittedly, it’s not the most ornamental plant out there, but I love the unusual, so please let me know if you know of a source!)

In summer 2009, I was invited by Sortland Gardening Club in North Norway to come and help them celebrate the fact that they had won the Norwegian Gardening Club of the Year Award.  I composed a salad, mostly from my garden and transported to Sortland in a cold box.  It was decorated with 4 flowers of the almost black-flowered hollyhock Alcea rosea “The Watchman” (as Sortland means Blackland!).   It contained Custard-in-Greens in the ingredients list (see the bottom of this page) which is how I found it!
(from )

The Sortland celebration salad was made from 209 varieties of edible plants, including 131 botanical species, 50 flowers and 23 berries and fruits. Dressing: Olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and juice from boiled mixed horseradish, chili, pelargonium, lemon verbena, sage, summer savory and oregano, salt and pepper. See the bottom of this page for the full ingredients list!

See also the following blog posts on sow-thistles:



I love this video featuring Sonchus

10 years ago I wrote this article in the Norwegian Useful Plants Society magazine (in Norwegian) (Sopp og Nyttevekster)

Ingredients list in the 2009 Sortland salad:
Part used Botanical name Norwegian name

Leaves Aegopodium podagraria Ground elder
Leaves Aegopodium podograria variegata Ground elder
Leaves Agastache anisata Anise Hyssop
Leaves Agastache anisata alba Anise Hyssop
Leaves Agastache rugosa “Golden Jubilee” Korean Hyssop
Leaves and flowers Agastache urticifolia
Leaves and flowers Alcea rosea “Peach” Hollyhock
Leaves and flowers Alcea rosea “The Watchman” Hollyhock
Topset onions Allium ampeloprasum “Elephant Garlic” Elephant Garlic
Leaves and bulbs Allium ampeloprasum “Sand Leek”
Leaves and flowers Allium angulosum Mouse garlic
Leaves and flowers Allium carinatum pulchellum
Leaves Allium carinatum pulchellum album
Leaves and bulbs Allium cepa/fistulosum Spring onion (5 varieties)
Leaves Allium cernuum “Pink Giant” Nodding onion
Leaves Allium cernuum album Nodding onion
Leaves and flowers Allium ericetorum
Leaves Allium hookeri, Hooker’s onion
Leaves and topset onions Allium longicuspis Wild garlic
Leaves Allium nutans Siberian nodding onion
Leaves Allium nutans “Slizun” Siberian nodding onion
Leaves, bulbiller Allium oleraceum “Geirlauk from Tautra” Wild onion
Leaves and flowers Allium paniculatum “Dwarf Selection”
Leaves Allium ramosum
Onions Allium sativum “Alexandra” Garlic
Leaves Allium schoenoprasum Chives
Leaves Allium schoenoprasum “Pink Flowered” Chives
Leaves Allium schoenoprasum “Wallington White” Chives
Leaves and flowers Allium schoenoprasum alpinum Chives
Leaves Allium schoenoprasum Ex-Forescate Chives
Leaves Allium schoenoprasum ssp. sibiricum Siberian chives
Leaves Allium schoenoprasum v. alpinum album Chives
Leaves Allium schoenoprasum v. alvarense Alvar-chives
Leaves Allium senescens “Sierui”
Leaves and flowers Allium senescens glaucum
Leaves and flowers Allium senescens montanum German garlic
Leaves Allium senescens v. petraeum
Leaves Allium spp. Ex-Råneå Norrland onion
Leaves Allium tuberosum Chinese chives
Onions Allium victorialis Victory onion
Leaves and flowers Allium wallichii Nepal onion
Topset onions and leaves Allium x proliferum Topset onion
Topset onions and leaves Allium x proliferum “Catawissa Red Top Set” Topset onion
Topset onions and leaves Allium x proliferum “Mc. Cullar’s White Topset” Topset onion
Leaves Althaea officinalis Marshmallow
Fruit Amelanchier alnifolia “Alvdal” Saskatoon berry
Fruit Amelanchier alnifolia “Thiessen” Saskatoon berry
Leaves Anethum graveolens Dill
Leaves Anredera cordifolia Madeira Vine
Leaves Anthriscus cerefolium Garden chervil
Stalk and Leaves Apium graveolens Celery (3 varieties)
Seed Apium nodiflorum Perennial celery
Root Armoracia rusticana Horseradish
Root Armoracia rusticana variegata Horseradish
Berries Aronia melanocarpa “Moskva”
Leaves Artemisia dracunculus sativa French tarragon
Leaves og umodne frø Atriplex hortensis Green Garden orach
Leaves og umodne frø Atriplex hortensis rubra Red Garden orach
Leaves Balsamita major (syn. Tanacetum balsamita or Chrysanthemum balsamita) Balsam
Leaves Basella alba
FlowerBorago officinalis Borage
FlowerBorago officinalis alba White borage
Leaves Brassica “Tree Collard”
Leaves Brassica oleracea “Ragged Jack” Kale
Leaves Brassica oleracea var capitata “Nero de Toscana” Cabbage
Flower Brassica oleracea var italica Broccoli
Leaves Brassica oleracea var sabellica “Hungry Gap” Kale
Leaves Brassica oleracea var sabellica “Red Russian” Kale
Leaves Brassica oleracea var sabellica “Siberian” Kale
Root Brassica rapa Turnip
Flower Calendula officinalis “Citrus Cocktail”
Flower Calendula officinalis “Double Mixed Colours”
Flower Calendula officinalis “Dwarf Mix”
Fruit Capsicum frutescens Chili
Bulbils Cardamine bulbifera (syn Dentaria bulbifera)
Leaves Cardamine hirsuta Hairy bittercress
Leaves Carum carvi Caraway
Leaves Chenopodium album “Magenta” Fat hen
Fruit Chenopodium foliosum Beetberry
Leaves Chenopodium quinoa Quinoa
Flower Cichorium intybus “Red Rib” Chicory
Flower Cichorium intybus var. Chicory
Flower Cryptotaenia japonica Mitsuba
Fruit Cucumis sativus “Passandra F1” Cucumber
Fruit Cucurbita pepo pepo “Partenon F1″ Zucchini
Leaves /dressing Cymbopogon flexuosus Lemon grass
Flower Dahlia “Wild Forms”
Flower Dahlia pinnata
Root Daucus carota Carrot
Flower Dianthus barbatus nigrescens “Sooty”
Leaves Diplotaxis tenuifolia Perennial rocket
Leaves Foeniculum vulgare “Purpurea” Fennel
Fruit Fragaria vesca “Alpine Strawberry”
Fruit Fragaria vesca “Fructo albo” Strawberry
Fruit Fragaria vesca “Pineapple” Strawberry
Flower Fuchsia magellanica “Globosa”
Leaves Hablitzia tamnoides Caucasian spinach
Flower Hemerocallis cult Day lily
Flower Hemerocallis fulva ”Kwanso Double” Day lily
Flower Hosta sieboldiana Hosta
Leaves Lactuca sativa (4 varieties) Lettuce
Leaves Lavatera arborea variegata
Leaves/Flower Leucanthemum vulgare Ox-eye Daisy
Leaves Levisticum officinale Lovage
Leaves / dressing Lippia dulcis
Fruit Lycopersicon esculentum “Black Cherry” Tomato
Fruit Lycopersicon esculentum “Sungold” Tomato
Fruit Lycopersicon esculentum “Tante Ci’s” Tomato
Fruit Malus domestica “Aroma” Apple
Leaves and flowers Malva alcea “Fastigiata” Hollyhock mallow
Leaves Malva crispa Curly mallow
Leaves, flowers and young seeds Malva moschata alba Musk mallow
Leaves, flowers and young seeds Malva moschata rosea Musk mallow
Leaves Malva sylvestris Common mallow
Leaves Melissa officinalis Lemon balm
Leaves Mentha (7 variieties) Mint
Leaves Mentha aquatica Chickweed
Flower Monarda “Squaw”
Flower Monarda didyma “Adam”
Flower Monarda didyma “Croftway Pink”
Flower Monarda didyma “Schneewitchen”
Flower Monarda fistulosa var menthifolia
Leaves Montia sibirica (syn. Claytonia sibirica) Siberian purslane
Leaves Myrrhis odorata Sweet cicely
Leaves Ocimum basilicum “Large Leaf” Basil
Flower and young seeds Oenothera biennis Evening primrose
Leaves Origanum vulgare “Aurea” Oregano
Leaves and flowers Oxalis spp. (2 varieties)
Root Pastinaca sativa Parsnip
Leaves Pelargonium “Attar of Roses”
Leaves Pelargonum odoratissimum
Leaves Petroselinum crispum *3 Persille
Leaves Petroselinum crispum *3 Persille
Leaves Petroselinum crispum *3 Persille
FlowerPhaseolus coccineus “Painted Lady” Stangbønne
Fruit Phaseolus coccineus “Streamline” Stangbønne
Flower Phaseolus coccineus “White Lady” Stangbønne
Fruit Pisum sativum “Hurst Green Shaft” Ert
Fruit Pisum sativum var. Ert
Leaves Plantago major GroLeaves
Leaves Polygonum virginianum variegatum
Bulbils Polygonum viviparum Harerug
Leaves Portulaca oleracea Portulakk
Fruit Prunus cerasus “Fanal” Surkirsebær
Seed pods Raphanus sativus “Rat’s Tail” Radish
Fruit Rheum x rhabarbarum “Glaskin’s Perpetual” Rhubarb
Fruit Ribes divaricatum
Fruit Ribes divaricatum “Worcesterberry”
Berries (fresh and dried) Ribes nigrum Blackcurrant
Fruit Ribes petraeum biebersteinii Black redcurrant
Fruit Ribes sativum “Hvitrips” (Prob. Hvit Hollandsk?) Redcurrant
Fruit Ribes uva-crispa Gooseberry
Fruit Ribes x culverwellii Jostaberry
Fruit Rubus fruticosus Bjørnebær
Fruit Rubus idaeus “Apricot” Raspberry
Fruit Rubus idaeus “Stiora” Raspberry
Fruit Rubus idaeus “Varnes” Yellow raspberry
Fruit Rubus idaeus “uknown” Raspberry
Fruit Rubus occidentalis Black raspberry
Leaves Rumex “Shchavel” Sorrel
Leaves Rumex acetosa “Blonde de Lyon” Sorrel
Leaves Rumex acetosa “Non-flowering variety” (proliferum?) Sorrel
Leaves Rumex acetosa lapponicus? “Beitostølen” Sorrel
Rumex acetosa variegata Sorrel
Leaves Rumex acetosa vinealis Wine sorrel
Leaves Rumex acetosella Sheep’s sorrel
Leaves Rumex sanguineus ssp. sanguineus Bloody sorrel
Leaves Rumex scutatus Buckler-leaved sorrel
Leaves Rumex scutatus “Silver Shield” Buckler-leaved sorrel
Leaves Salvia officinalis Sage
Leaves Sanguisorba minor ssp. minor Salad burnet
Leaves Satureja hortensis Summer savory
Tuber Solanum tuberosum “Blå Congo” Potato
Tuber Solanum tuberosum “King Edward” Potato
Tuber Solanum tuberosum “Russepotet” Potato
Tuber Solanum tuberosum “Shetland Blue Eye” Potato
Tuber Solanum tuberosum “Yellow Finn” Potato
Leaves Sonchus oleraceus Common sow thistle
Leaves Sonchus oleraceus “Custard in Greens” Common sow thistle
Leaves Spilanthes acmella “Gul” Toothache plant
Leaves Spilanthes acmella “Rød” Toothache plant
Root Stachys sieboldii (syn. affinis) Chorogi
Leaves Taraxacum rubifolium Red-leaved dandelion
Leaves Taraxacum kok-saghyz Rubber dandelion
Leaves and flowers Tradescantia occidentalis
Leaves and flowers Tradescantia ohiensis
Leaves and flowers Tropaeolum majus Nasturtium
Leaves Urtica galeopsifolia Marsh nettle
Berries Vaccinium myrtilus Bilberry
Leaves Valerianella locusta “Dunkelgruner Volherziger” Cornsalad
Leaves Veronica beccabunga Brookweed
Fruit Vicia faba Broad bean
Flower Viola Canadensis Canadian violet