Gone are the days when a salad was just an unimaginative opener to a meal. The locavore trend keeps getting hotter in restaurants across the country, and seasonal ingredients are all the rage. Creative restaurant chefs and caterers are making the most of local produce to come up with delicious new salads that celebrate the ingredients of the season. Knowing what fruits and vegetables are in season on nearby farms makes planning a great salad easy.
In many areas, salad greens can be grown in greenhouses or under polytunnels all winter long. In fact, many greens that are bitter in the heat of summer taste much sweeter after a frost. Leafy green salads featuring spinach, mâche, arugula, kale and endive are good choices for a cold-weather salad. These are delicious with a warm bacon dressing and winter carrots for garnish.
Spinach and head lettuces such as romaine and Boston varieties grow well in the cool temperatures of spring, and they are a great base for delicious salads. Radishes are one of the fastest vegetables to mature, and fresh herbs break dormancy in early spring as well. A crisp salad of fresh lettuce, thinly shaved radishes, and sprigs of chives, mint or dill make a salad so refreshing it barely needs dressing beyond a splash of olive oil and lemon juice.
Summer offers the most creativity for salad creators, as it’s the height of the growing season. Lettuces wilt in the summer heat, but they’re hardly missed as tomatoes and cucumbers hit the scene. A Caprese salad of cherry tomatoes, miniature mozzarella balls and basil leaves is a classic, while a chopped salad of cucumber cubes and dill can be dressed with a tangy yogurt dressing. Zucchini can be shaved thin and splashed with a lemon vinaigrette and spiced with fresh oregano and thyme.
Summer vegetables last until frost, but once temperatures drop, the focus shifts toward vegetables that can withstand the cold. Hardy cabbage can be sliced on a mandolin in place of lettuce for a base, while small side shoots of broccoli are sweetest after a frost and make a great addition to fall salads. Carrots and beets are also available, and sweet butternut squash can be grated raw for an autumnal garnish.
Storing and Serving Salad Ingredients All Year Long
No matter what the season, Cambro makes it easy to keep high-quality ingredients as farm-fresh as the day they were picked. Clear CamSquare storage containers keep vegetables from spoiling, and Cambro’s salad bowls make serving gorgeous salads as easy and fun as making them.
Contact your local Cambro representative to find out more.