Saturday, September 15, 2012

Nasturtium Capers

nasturtiums add needed colour to the garden,
and attract bees and butterflies

nasturtium seed pods dangling off the vine

this may surprise you, but you can makes capers with nasturtium seed pods! i first heard of the idea last year. it seemed like a good idea, caper berries are an acutal berries of a certain shrub, and nasturtium capers are something like the 'poor mans' version. their flavour has a hint of the nasturtium spice you get in the flowers that mellows once pickled. if you have loads of nasturtium plants in your garden, is worth the hour it takes picking and jaring up these little buds. i got half a pint of seed pods from 3 plants, and i could have kept going.  this recipe suits that amount perfectly.
a pint o' pods
Harvesting Pods: pick the seed pods once they have turned green and big on the vine. don't use seed pods that have fallen off plants, they've dried up and will make new plants next year.

each nasturtium seed pod breaks into three seperate seeds. i break these up while harvesting into a small jar. if you want to save the seeds for next year dry them out in a sunny window for a couple weeks then seal in a labeled envelope for storage.
all parts of the nasturtium plant are edible: the leaves can be used in salads and the flowers are great as garnishing, and have a nice peppery note to them.
Companion planting: nasturtium is great at attracting wildlife into the garden, bees and butterflies mainly. they in turn pollinate your veg plants. nasturtiums tend to be great for attracting green fly away from other plants, once the green fly take over you can pull the plants and remove the greenfly from your patch. some people even believe nasturtium secretes an enzyme that neighbouring plants absorbs throught the soil, helping the plants resist pest and disease! the plants also sprawl between other veg plants creating a living mulch to help keep weeds down in the garden. nasturtiums are a must in every veg patch. they look great too.

nasturtium capers are as easy as 1.....



Nasturtium Capers
1 pint
adapted from Preserved, by Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton
for this recipe i used white wine vinegar with provence herbs, if you can't find this just add a few sprigs of thyme and oregano to the brine when bringing to a boil, or leave out completely.
1/2 pint freshly picked nasturtium seed pods, washed and drained
for brine:
1/2 pint herbes de provence infused white wine vinegar, (see note above)
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 white onion thinkly sliced
1/4 lemon, thinly sliced
herbes de provence vinegar
1 clove garlic, smashed
3 peppercorns
  • place seed pods in a sterlized pint jar with lid
  • bring rest of ingredients to a boil, then cool to room temp.
  • pour all ingredients over seed pods, and cover with tight fitting lid. refridgerate for a week before use.

nasturtium pods can be added as they grow on the plants, just keep popping more into the brine solution.

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