Recipes with Nasturtiums

They may look sweet, but nasturtiums have a surprisingly peppery taste, similar to mustard or watercress. This makes them great for salads or as a garnish on pasta dishes. This will delight lovers of root-to- stem cooking as every part of the plant can be used, including the seed pods, which can be used as a substitute for capers. Most often they are used to decorate dishes and make dinners or desserts look a touch fancier.

Although nasturtiums are known for a beautiful garnish, they also pack a punch in health benefits. The leaves and petals are full of vitamin C, which strengthens your immune system and fights infection. These tiny flowers also have high levels of manganese, iron and other essential nutrients, and some studies suggest they even have antibiotic properties. The term ‘dynamite comes in small packages’ has never been truer.

You can throw some nasturtiums on just about anything that needs a spicy kick or a pop of colour. Say goodbye to boring, bland meals and bring some wonder into your cooking, direct from your garden.

READ MORE: Get some tips on how to grow your own nasturtiums

Try these nasturtium recipes:

Nasturtium Butter

  • Nasturtium flowers, chopped
  • Salt,
  • 1⁄2 cup butter

Bring out your inner Michelin-star chef with a log of nasturtium butter – the easiest way to make a big culinary impact. Simply mix chopped nasturtium flowers, a pinch of salt and butter together, and voila! For some extra flair you can place the butter on wax paper, roll it into a log and leave it to set in the fridge for 24 hours. This recipe is delicious on toast or with afternoon tea and crackers. (The tea can be made from nasturtiums too!)

Stuffed Nasturtium Flowers

  • 1⁄2 cup cream cheese
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic, crushed
  • Chives, chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper

To take full advantage of their beauty, nasturtiums can be stuffed with a number of fillings that are perfect for garden party canapés. Mix the ingredients together to make a paste and stuff the centre of the flowers slightly, leaving space to close
the petals. These delicious snacks look stunning served on a platter with the circular leaves as a base.

Poor Man’s Capers

  • 1 cup firm green nasturtium seed pods
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 – 8 peppercorns, crushed

Otherwise known as pickled nasturtium pods, poor man’s capers are the ultimate way to use the extra seeds from your nasturtium plant. The name doesn’t do them justice, but the fresh green pods have their own tangy mustard flavor, making them a great treat all on their own. Start by rinsing and draining the pods. If you are not a fan of strong bitter flavors you can let the pods sit in a saltwater brine for a few days to make them slightly more mellow, but for those who like a bit of zing, this step can be skipped. Heat the vinegar, salt, sugar and peppercorns in a pan to make the pickling mixture. All that’s left is to add the pods to the jar and pour in the liquid to cover them. Leave in the fridge for three months and enjoy your budget- friendly capers!

The Gardener