The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

All spiced up: lavender and grape salad with peppermint sun tea

3 min read

By Danielle Rosenberg

One of the easiest, tastiest ways to be a better consumer is to take advantage of local farmer’s markets.

This dish is focused around farmer’s market finds—since autumn is fast-approaching—and uses only ingredients fresh from the market (with the exception of the olive oil and the peppermint tea leaves).

Using this resource before winter is especially important: it is only a short walk to the market (Fredericksburg’s is located on the corner of William St and Prince Edward St, just a few blocks from campus), but be sure to bring a reusable bag!

Not only is local produce better for the earth, but you’ll notice an extensive difference in quality.

After eating grapes fresh off of the vine, you’ll never really want to eat store-bought grapes again.

Saturday, I went home with a bag full of heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, a bunch of dried lavender and half a pound of concord grapes.

On the way home, I noticed how well the lavender’s scent complimented that of the grapes and decided I’d make a simple fruit salad using the two.
After a bit of chopping and seeding the grapes, I came up with this recipe:

Lavender and Grape Salad
1 bunch of grapes (purple might be even more attractive for this dish), halved and seeded
3 sprigs of fresh lavender
1 small cucumber, chopped into half-bite-size pieces
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
A few leaves from a green, leafy vegetable
After chopping and seeding the grapes, remove all of the flowers from the lavender sprig, disposing of the stem (or alternatively save the stem and make something from it—it still has an attractive scent).

Crumble these flowers over the grapes, add the cucumber and the olive oil and stir well to distribute the olive oil and lavender evenly throughout the cucumber pieces and grape halves.
Serve on a few dandelion, romaine, or arugula leaves—it doesn’t necessarily matter what kind of vegetable, as long as the leaves don’t have a flavor that will cover up the subtle taste of the salad.
For example, dandelion leaves are relatively neutral whereas spinach leaves have a very distinctive taste that would cover the salad’s own flavors.

Pair with: Peppermint Sun Tea

A large mason jar, with a lid (think old jam or sauce jar)
A tealeaf strainer (or cheesecloth)
Loose leaf Peppermint Tea
Honey or Agave Nectar to taste

Fill the lid with water and put the strainer in (a teabag will also suffice).
On a sunny day, set the tea in the sun in the morning so it will be warmed by its rays.
By the late afternoon, the tea will have steeped and can then be chilled (after removing the tea bag or strainer).
Then sweeten using honey or agave nectar and serve over ice.

Music Pairing:
Each week, I’m going to pair each dish with a song or album I think really captures the mood behind it. Do with it what you will.
This week, I chose “Never Going Back Again” from Fleetwood Mac’s album “Rumours”—because of its light, summery melody.