I felt like eating some nasturtium flowers and leaves today but the plant in my garden is looking pretty sad at the moment. It died back recently and has about four tiny leaves on it. I had to look further afield so I went down to a patch I know that grows by the river near my house. When I got there it looked like the whole area had been sprayed. Everything was dry and dead, which is why I don’t like foraging in public spaces.
Nasturtiums are pretty prolific so I knew I’d pass some on the way home which I did. The nasturtiums were growing through someones fence onto the sidewalk. There were plenty so I helped myself to some. Nasturtiums can be used medicinally, they are high in vitamin C and have antibiotic properties. I will be using the flowers and young leaves below in a salad.
Previously I have also pickled the seeds. A couple of years ago I visited a friends property. She had a huge patch of nasturtiums and doesn’t spray them. They had all gone to seed and there were literally thousands of seeds to collect. I collected the young green seeds for this recipe. The older brown seeds are no good for pickling but can be used to grow new plants. Use the following pickled seeds like you would use capers.
Pickled nasturtium seeds (garden betty recipe)
2/3 cup young green nasturtium seed pods
1/4 cup salt
2 cups water
2/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 bay leaf
Separate the pods into individual seeds, and give them a rinse to remove any dirt. In a jar dissolve the salt in water. Add the nasturtium seeds, and keep the seeds submerged. Let the brine sit for a couple of days at room temperature. The seeds will turn a dull green during this stage.
Strain the seeds and rinse again to remove excess salt.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the vinegar and sugar to a low boil for 1 minute and stir to dissolve.
Divide your seeds into small jars, then pour the hot vinegar over the seeds, covering them completely.Add a bay leaf to each jar.
Let the jars cool to room temperature before sealing with lids. At this point, you can either keep the jars at room temp or store them in the fridge.
The pickled pods will keep indefinitely in the vinegar, just use a clean utensil to remove the pods from the jar.