Health, Sustainable Living

DIY Nasturtiums Capers

The nasturtiums in my backyard farm are going crazy.  The yellow, orange and red flowers are spreading all over my garden, calling in the pollinators. So beautiful AND tasty. I love the nasturtiums sweet pungent peppery flavour. I enjoy eating the leaves and flowers straight from the garden or in my salad. However, you can also add them to any other dishes such as guacamole, Mexican plates and pizza –  as an uncooked topping. They are great edible decorations.

Nasturtiums Growing In My Garden
Nasturtiums Growing In My Garden

Nasturtiums are high in Vitamin C and contain a natural antibiotic that is fast-working in the body. If you feel a cold coming on, eat a few leaves to help ward it off.

You might very well be acquainted with nasturtium but have you ever seen their seed pods? Have you ever eaten pickled nasturtium pods? They are like peppery capers. I don’t even like capers but I do like these nasturtium pickled seed pods! They are also known as ‘poor man’s capers’.  I say, nothing poor about these little delights ❤

Pickled Nasturtium Pod Recipe

The seeds are harvested as soon as they are ripe because the mature seeds often have a bitter taste. So when you start noticing the seeds, start collecting. Each flower contains a single large seed. Once you have a bowl full of them, time to pickle them.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of salt for every cup of nasturtium seed pods
  • 1 of bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp juniper seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole black pepper
  • 2 cups water (roughly)
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp celery seeds (optional)

Instructions Part 1:

  1. Harvest young, light green, half-ripened seed pods while they’re still on the vines.
  2. Separate the pods into individual seeds and remove the dried flower.
  3. Wash in water and allow to dry.
  4. Now make a salty brine. In a jar, dissolve the salt in 2 cups of cold water Remembering: 1/4 cup of salt for every cup of nasturtium seed pods.
  5. Add the nasturtium seeds.
  6. Make sure that all seeds are covered with brine.
  7. Let the brine sit overnight at room temperature. The seeds will turn a dull green during this stage.

Instructions part 2:

  1. Strain the seeds and rinse again to remove excess salt.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the vinegar, bay leaf, juniper berries and black pepper to a low boil. Then simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Place the glass jar with seeds on a wooden board and pour the hot vinegar over the seeds, covering them completely. Let the jar cool to room temperature before sealing with the lid.
  4. After 3 weeks the pickled nasturtium pods are ready to eat.

Suggestion: Chop finely and add them to your favourite salad or pasta. They also go amazing with potatoes or pizza.

Grow Aerial Nasturtiums

Nasturtium is an annual plant that originated from South America, there are more than 100 varieties. Nasturtiums are vigorous ground crawlers, which can “take over your garden” if not maintained.

I am growing my nasturtiums in vertical metal stands. These stands contain the nasturtiums from spreading and create a nice visual depth to my garden. They love the sun but will tolerate part-shade. They aren’t too choosy about the soil that they grow in, thus they are super easy to grow.

Companion Planting

Nasturtiums are great companion plants as they excrete a strong essence into the air and soil, which keep several pests away. Neighbouring plants also absorb the essence through the soil, which then helps them resist attacks by pests and disease. Nasturtiums are a good companion plant for broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, potatoes, and fruit trees.

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