These are truly one of my favorite summer flowers – something about their sunny colors of orange and gold brighten any balcony, patio or garden spot. They seem so happy and always bring a smile to me.
“But wait, there’s more!” Nasturtiums are a 100% edible gift of nature! Their leaves and leggy stems lend a little spice to your summer salad. If you have a lot of them you can make a spicy pesto or add a bit to your traditional pesto.
The flowers themselves are completely edible and certainly lend elegance and color to your plate, not to mention those "oohs and ahhs" a cook adores. And finally, once the flowers have shined all they can, they leave behind a seed pod (kind of resembles a little crinkly green brain), from which you can pickle your own spicy little nasturtium capers!
While I share my knowledge with you through Kitchen Tips, I am, of course, still always learning. Last year, I planted too many nasturtiums in my garden box for the space. The result was an over crowded, bumper crop and while I basked in the beautiful color on my balcony and ate as much pesto as I could, I DID NOT KNOW I COULD’VE MADE ‘CAPERS’! This I sorely regret, as I adore the little things!
If you’d like to try it yourself, here’s how (thanks to Sandor Katz, my fermenting guru):
1½ cups of small seedpods*, such as Nasturtium or even Milkweed
1 Tb. Sea salt
1-2 heads of garlic
Harvest the pods when they’re small and tender.
Dissolve the salt in the water to create your brine.
Fill a pint jar with seedpods and peeled garlic cloves. Pour the brine over, making sure to cover all.
It’s important to keep them weighted down, so they remain covered under the brine. You can use a smaller container that fits in your pint jar (filled with water for weight) or even a Ziploc bag filled with brine (in case it leaks).
Taste daily until they taste “ripe”. This should take 4-7 days. If a film of mold develops, simply skim it off and continue to keep the pods submerged in brine, until they taste ready to you. Once they are, you can simply put a lid on them and keep them refrigerated, using them as needed. Voila!
Savor the Flavor of Summer!!
*EATING RAW NOT RECOMMENDED – CAN BE TOXIC, ESPECIALLY FOR ULCERS & KIDNEY DISORDERS