Monday, October 27, 2008
Do you eat flowers?
This plant is very easy to grow and is often chosen for children just interested in growing a plant from seed. I can confirm that, I did little to them yet they bloomed all summer. And all summer while I enjoyed the blooms of my Nasturtium (Tropaeolum), I never knew how edible they were. You heard me right, I could have eaten any part of the plant or blooms.
Most often it is the flower and leaf that is eaten, especially added to salad for a boost of color and it offers a slight peppery taste (reminiscent of watercress). The flowers or leaves are also sometimes used in stir fry. The leaves are more intensely flavored, but the blooms are a prettier addition. You can use them whole or chopped as a garnish in soups, butters, spreads, cakes, etc. You could even stuff the blooms with cream cheese, for instance, for a unique hors d’ouvere. Or maybe add some blooms to your sandwiches, or flavor vinegar.
And if you’re looking for something to use in place of capers you can harvest the unripe seed pods and pickle with hot vinegar, although they taste more peppery. Or grind some seeds in a pepper mill and use in place of black pepper. You can eat the tuber (root) as well, although I haven’t found details on exactly how that is recommended.
Nasturtiums also repel many garden pests, but attract black fly aphids, so sometimes people use them amongst crops in the hopes that the crop will be saved. And they attract beneficial insects.
Why would I grow anything else? I think next year I will try eating them, but for this year they are done, it’s too late. What about you, would you try them? Have you tried them?
I took these photos with the 15mm fisheye lens.
Can you believe we had snowflakes yesterday? Already! I think that's the earliest I've ever seen flakes.