From the garden to the table.
If we take the word Nasturtium apart we have two Latin words which together mean "to twist the nose." Obviously the nose-twisting quality is that warm, tantalizing pungency which the entire plant possesses, and which it delights to yield.
Most of us can claim to have grown a nasturtium or two by about age six. Their large seeds make them a favorite "day-care project" because they germinate very quickly, in 10 to 14 days, presumably before budding young horticulturists lose interest. But familiarity shouldn't breed contempt. These annuals have handsome, shield-shaped leaves and bear unique, helmet shaped blossoms in hot, vivid, carnival colors.
Nasturtiums belong to the genus Tropaeolum (meaning "trophy"), which comprises about 85 species that are indigenous to the mountainous regions of Central and South America. Forms of our common garden nasturtium T. majus, a South American native found from Colombia to Bolivia - have been grown and selected in the Americas and Europe for more than 350 years. All of the plant (except the root) is edible, and there's no doubt our ancestors looked upon nasturtiums primarily as food: the common name giving a nod to the unrelated genus Nasturtium which we recognize as watercress that is also a garden-to-the-table kind of food.
I have nicknamed these beautiful, fragrant flowers, "Nastys." They still seem to bloom for me!
Marigold, Daisy, Cosmos
Grow nasturtiums together with other annuals and tender perennials that bloom in the same color palette and that will tolerate the same lean growing conditions such as:
1. 'FIESTA GITANA' DWARF CALENDULA (Calendula Officinalis Fiesta) ANNUAL
2. 'YELLOW FLAME' GAZANIA (Gazania 'Yellow Flame' Big Kiss Series) ANNUAL
3. CHOCOLATE COSMOS (cosmos atrosanguineus) ZONE 8
How to grow Nasturtiums - Grow them anywhere and everywhere.
Do you see the green beans? These "nastys" are growing at the end of a garden row. (I made sure that I didn't fertilize them.) See the beans, they seem to be loving them there.
I like to mix bee-loving flowers into my vegetable rows. This not only attracts bees to pollinate the vegetable blossoms, but also adds pleasing color to my garden.
When growing your nasturtiums in containers, remember to use soiless potting mix or just plain peat moss that's been well-moistened; the least hint of nitrogen will produce leaves like lily pads, but not a single flower. Nasturtiums manufacture all the food they require through photosynthesis, so lay off the 20-20-20, and simply savor the flavor.
If sowing outdoors in beds or containers, sow seeds one centimeter deep in a full-sun location, one week before your last frost date.
In beds and borders, sow seeds in nutrient-poor soil. If you have rich soil mix in sand and peat moss.
Harvest young leaves and flowers as soon as they're fully open.
Out of our gardens and ... - Into our kitchens.
Nasturtiums have always been featured in old-time kitchen gardens. Both flowers and leaves were salad-fare, and its round green seed pods were pickled in vingegar to use as a delicious substitute for capers.
So let us bring our nasturtiums out of their flower-garden banishment, and promote them into the ranks of the Kitchen Guard. They will work wonders for us.
I will reproduce for you, some of the recipes that I found interesting and taste yummy.
RECIPES - Use of nasturtiums for food
Have you ever tasted nasturtium seeds? They're nutty and peppery. (You can see some off to right in the picture above.) I knew that they could be pickled to make an English version of the continental caper but I'd never found a recipe when the seeds were green and perfect for pickling.
So I was delighted when Mary, a reader and friend of mine, sent me her recipe. She had already road tested it.
I sampled my first batch yesterday and wow they are good! (My Nastys are now starting to grow in the garden. The ones that reseeded themselves are much bigger than the ones I planted.) It won't be long now when I can just scoot down to the kitchen garden where trailing nasturtiums are romping across the borders. Find a handful of seeds and over the next couple of weeks collect a small bowl of them. If you do this check the seeds carefully before brining and reject any brown ones.
My small bowl of nasturtium seeds won't fill a pint jar so I'll search in the storage shed for dinky jars that seemed really too small to keep. Thank goodness I'm a hoarder.
Pickled Nasturtium seeds recipe
Pick the Nasturtium seeds when still green. Place in a wet brine made of 50g salt and 450ml /1 pint cold water. Leave for 24 hrs.
Drain the seeds and rinse really well, then pack into warmed (sterilised) jars and cover with boiling *spiced vinegar and seal with plastic lined metal lids.
Leave for 3 weeks to mature.
*For the spiced vinegar - I used 500ml of white wine vinegar plus 1 tsp of black peppercorns, a small piece of blade mace, 1 tsp of celery seeds, 1 clove of garlic crushed, 1 small dried red chilli pepper (crumbled), I bay leaf, I tsp of juniper berries, 1 tsp of salt. Brought to the boil and simmered gently for 10 minutes and then strained through muslin. (You can adapt this recipe to your own taste.)
How to pickle Nasturtium seeds
Just a few things different than my recipe. I noticed he left some of the stem on. I like them taken off right to the seed as I found the stem doesn't remain crispy. Try it both ways though, you might like the stems on and, it certainly would fill the jar quicker.
There is something so great about pickling your own nasturtium seeds. Why, of course, eating them in the winter or having a dinner guest tasting one for the first time because you just happened to put some in the summer salad.
I am wondering how many of my squidoo guests have ever tasted these wonderful pickles.
Have you ever tasted pickled nasturtium seeds?
Edible Flower Recipe Book - Pick um, Smell um, Eat um
Guacamole-Stuffed Nasturtiums, Wild Rice-Sage Blossom Fritters, Pasta with Daylily Buds and Mushrooms - Flowers in the Kitchen shows how 25 delicious edible flowers can be used in butters, vinegars, and salads as well as in show-stopping appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
I'd buy this not only for the delicious recipes, but also for the included comprehensive chart of 50 edible flowers and a charming garden plan.
Nasturtiums in my garden. - Photos compliments of www.willborden.comClick thumbnail to view full-size
Have you ever decorated a salad with nasturtiums?
Garden to Table Salad: - Spring Nasturtiums and Organic Arugula with Citrus Zest
Spice up salads this season with spring nasturtiums! The lovely flowers are easy to grow and have a slight peppery taste and spicy notes to them. They also contain Vitamin C. It is delightful to discover these common nasturtium flowers and leaves are edible so long as no pesticides are used. They're from the watercress family and add a similar tangy flavor to pasta salads, soup garnishes and both fruit and vegetable dishes.
The salad above is a combination of organic wild arugula, nasturtiums, carrots, clementines, sprouts, and a splash of citrus zest and olive oil with lemon pepper to taste.
These delicate yellow and orange flowers need to be washed and soaked before eating. Recipes include making a lovely vinegar, tangy butter or spread, or garnish. Next time I pick some I'll try stuffed nasturtium flowers, which may be a bit like stuffed squash blossoms but with more of a lemon pepper flavor.
Here's a tip:
You can use the nasturtium flower all summer long. Use the chopped leaves to make a zesty addition to mayonnaise or vinaigrettes. As the summer sun gets hotter though, so does the "pepper" in the nasturtiums and leaves. More sun and heat, the spicier the taste. So if you are looking for a milder tang, choose flowers from nasturtiums grown in shade or semi-shade.
This charming flower can be grown as a perennial in places without any frost. The flowers taste like watercress, the leaves taste peppery.
Forget the brash common orange colors and try this patchwork of soft shades. They've 'shaken and stirred' all the pastels, bicolors, pinks, strawberries and cream shades and raspberry shades in equal quantities and hey presto, Carribean Cocktail! Grows 8-12 inches high.
* Annual * Color: Orange / Red / Yellow * Bloom Time: Summer * Height: 18 -30" * Sun/Shade: Sun * Approx. Seeds/Lb.: n/a * Native To: South America * Zones: 3 - 10
This charming trailer will cover your fence or slope and capture your heart with its edible leaves and flowers.
Scarlet, gold, orange and yellow single flowers on vines 5-6' tall.
Compact plants with attractive variegated foliage. Flowers and tender young leaves add color and a peppery zip to salads. Colorful, edible nasturtiums tolerate poor soils and heat or cold. Big seeds are ideal for kids' gardens. 30 seeds per packet. Variegated foliage. Ht.12". Easy, Annual. Sun.
With 250 seeds .. Go ahead, plant the whole garden with these charming edible flowers. They will attract the bees and butterflies to pollenate your other edibles.
There are other uses for Nasturtiums besides to gaze at, smell or eat.
Nasturtiums positive qualities:
Glowing vitality, radiant warmth; living thinking.
1 lb. of wild-crafted Watercress Herb Cut & Sifted (C/S)
Flower essences were developed to help individuals cope with emotional imbalances, stresses and traumatic experiences. The information presented here can help you choose a flower essence for yourself, your loved ones or pets. The description below shows the positive qualities the essence may evoke as well as the patterns of imbalance a person may be dealing with.
Many thanks to the SquidTeam ..
you made my day!
Nasturtium Flowers received a Purple Star on August 22, 2011.
According to the Purple Star lens,
they are awarded to Lenses that are:
"Masterpiece lenses. Lenses making a name for themselves.
Lenses trying new things."
What an honor! Thank you!
Will has generously supplied all of the photos for this lens. If you haven't already taken in the plethora of beautiful photos and inspiring digital artwork of this artist, I encourage you to do so.
View Will's work at:
New art is being added daily.
Lens of the Day Award.
I am so proud of this lens. I do a lot of canning. Some homemakers call it preserves but I call it canning even though I use jars not cans. I have many canning books that call it "canning" also.
So canning/preserves .. this lens will show in detail how to save your garden produce and, set you on the road to tastier, less expensive and more nutritious food for the winter.
I was over the moon when this lens also became winner of the sought-after Purple Star.
A lens that I am very proud of.. - Awarded the Purple Star and Lens of the Day Awards
It seems like all of my life I have been canning. I remember when I was a very young girl of six helping mum to can/preserve raspberries. In those days most families didn't own a refrigerator, much less a freezer. Therefore it was necessary for us to preserve eatables if we wanted to store them to eat during the long winter months.
Here you will find simple ways of canning summer produce. Can It!
Another winner of the Lens of the Day and Purple Star Awards
I know that you are going to love this one!
Our quail family started with a mumma and poppa quail and multiplied until now we have about 100 wild quail skitting around our property.
This lens is written by one of the newest of our quail family. Come have a peep. I'm sure you will find what he has to say entertaining.
And yet another LotD and Purple Star Winner!
Thank you SquidTeam for this honor.
Created to answer the Hot Potato Challenge, this lens addresses developments in the world's largest forest and the dangers these present to animals and perhaps to the whole world.
I hope that you find this article interesting, educational and motivational. Canada's Boreal forest needs our protection.
There are very important decisions Canada and the world must make soon. Please read: Canada's Boreal Forest
Do you love Nasturtiums?
Where do you plant them?
Any growing tips?
All comments welcome.
A "Like" too, of course. ;)