Edible Delights: 3 Nasturtium Recipes

Reader Contribution by Lemon Verbena Lady
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You can check out the Lemon Verbena Lady at her bloghttp://lemonverbenalady.blogspot.com.

Because The Herbal Husband is originally from Peru, we like to have tropical plants from Peru in our garden. The nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) is our favorite edible flower and it is native to Peru. The flowers and leaves are both edible and are peppery in taste. Did you know that King Louis XIV of France and President Thomas Jefferson grew nasturtiums in their gardens? They are easy to grow from seeds and especially easy for kids learning how to plant from seed in their garden. Here are my nasturtiums last season. These were Dutch seeds that did beautifully in the cooler weather we had last season.

Check out last season’s nasturtiums, grown from Dutch seeds!
Photo by Nancy Heraud

The jewel-like tones of the flowers are what is so inviting to me.

This year’s nasturtiums have been fried by the hot weather.
Photo by Nancy Heraud

This photo is from this season. The leaves are a little fried by all of the hot weather we have been having. We planted a mixture of different varieties this year. One of these varieties are from Territorial Seeds and its called ‘Night and Day’. It has both light and dark flowers in the mix. Another one of our varieties is from Renee’s Garden and it is called ‘Whirlybird’. I like this one particularly because it does not have a spur on the back where little insects like to hide. Some say that the spur adds to the peppery flavor of the flower and maybe ‘Whirlybird’ is just a bit milder.

A closeup of my ‘Whirlybird’ without the spur.
Photo by Nancy Heraud

Another variety from Renee’s Garden is called ‘Alaska’ and it has variegated leaves.

A guacamole filled nasturtium.
Photo by Nancy Heraud

The Herbal Husband’s Guacamole

The Herbal Husband makes guacamole every so often during the summer and we like to fill the nasturtium flowers with it. They make the perfect cup. Make sure when you eat flowers that they have not been sprayed and that you take out the reproductive parts of the flower. Also, if you have allergies, remember that you should only eat the petals of any flower. Makes a generous portion for two.

• 2 ripe Haas avocados
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
• 1 medium-sized tomato, chopped
• Several sprigs of parsley leaves, chopped
• Several sprigs of cilantro leaves, chopped
• 2 green onions, sliced
• 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice (optional)

1. Cut avocados in half, remove pits and then spoon flesh into bowl. Mash with a fork. 

2. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with olive oil, tomato, parsley, cilantro, onions and lemon or lime juice. Mix well. 

3. Serve with chips, scoops or nasturtium flowers.

The early preparation of Nasturtium-Peppercorn Vinegar.
Photo by Nancy Heraud

Nasturtium-Peppercorn Vinegar

The other way I like to use nasturtium leaves and flowers is in an herbal vinegar; my favorite recipe comes from my friend and herbal mentor, Kathleen Gips, who is the owner of The Village Herb Shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. If you are in the Ohio area, it is a wonderful visit to her shop filled with all things herbal and other goodies. She has kindly let me share the recipe with you.

I like this recipe because you don’t have to have all of the flowers at one time; you can add them as you get them. This vinegar has a very peppery flavor, but it also has a depth of flavor. It is good in stews, soups and of course, salad dressings. I also use it as a pepper substitute. It works very well.

• 2 cups nasturtium blossoms, including spurs, washed and dried
• 1 cups nasturtium leaves
• 1/4 cups chopped chives
• 2 stems of rosemary
• 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
• 4 cups white wine vinegar

1. Place flowers, leaves and other ingredients with the vinegar in a jar. If the jar has a metal lid, put some plastic wrap in between the lid and jar. 

2. Let it steep 3 to 4 weeks. (I usually start testing after about 2 weeks.) 

3. Strain through cheese cloth or a coffee filter and put it in a decorative bottle.

Recipe courtesy KathleenGips,The Village Herb Shop, ChagrinFalls, Ohio

Patsy’s Vegetable Dip

Sometimes my nasturtium leaves get as big as a doilie. I then use it under a red cabbage, hollowed out and filled with my favorite dip, then serve it with crudites. Here is my favorite dip for veggies.

• 1 cup mayonaise
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 1 teaspoon Good Seasons dry Italian salad dressing
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon curry powder
• 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon parsley
• 1 grated onion (small)

1. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate overnight.

I hope you are surviving the summer. I complained about the cool weather last year. The ickies and stickies are lingering in the ‘Burgh this year. Somewhere in between would be nice! I’m just happy that the herb garden is in good shape. I’ll talk about what’s going on in the herb garden next time.

If you have herb questions, please feel free to leave me a comment or e-mail me at lemonverbenalady@hotmail.com. Talk to you soon.

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