I love nasturtiums not only for their vibrant bright colors and unusual saucer-like foliage, there is simply so much to love: they grow easily and reseed themselves every year, plus their leaves, flowers, and seed pods are all edible. I often sprinkle the flower petals on our salads to add gorgeous color and I’ve been adding the young leaves for a bit of peppery zest.
The green seed pods (pictured above) are crunchy and surprisingly peppery too- try one right off the plant, but you have been warned! You can find lots of recipes for pickling them to use in place of capers since this has been done literally for centuries.
I found a recipe in The Forgotten Art of Growing Gardening and Cooking with Herbs, by Richard M. Bacon, (Yankee INC, 1972). It’s a wonderful book I discovered recently at my local used bookstore, packed with useful information.
The instructions are minimal: in a quart jar combine 1 tablespoon salt, 2 cups wine vinegar, 1 clove of garlic. Fill with green nasturtium pods, seal, and store 1 month before using.
But I challenge anyone to find enough nasturtium pods to fill an entire quart jar- then to actually use them! So I found Linda Ziedrich’s, method much more doable. She ‘s the author of The Joy of Pickling.
She combines 1/2 cup cider vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small jar, stirs to dissolve the salt, and adds the green pods. She has even added fresh pods to the jar throughout the growing season. She doesn’t refrigerate the jar, but personally, I’m cautious, so I’d refrigerate them just to be on the safe side.
Do you have a favorite nasturtium recipe? I’d like to know- I have lots of them growing!
Photos: Patricia Larenas, Urban Artichoke