I have always loved the nasturtium. They come in beautiful colors,I love seeing them in my garden, and love using them in my salads or with my steamed greens, even in herb vinegars, pasta and potatoe salads for garnish.
The nasturtium has been around for a long time
A Turkish cookbook from the 1800’s reads: “Put a plate of flowers of the Nasturtium in a salad bowl, with a tablespoonful of chopped chervil; sprinkle over with your fingers half a teaspoonful of salt, two or three tablespoonsful of olive oil, and the juice of a lemon; turn the salad in the bowl with a spoon and a fork until well mixed, and serve.” found here http://www.bakespace.com/recipes/detail/Green-Salad-with-Nasturtiums-(Gorgeous)/22711/#recipe-story
I found these 15 reasons why we should grow them:
Nasturtiums look like water-lily pads without the water. This is just the beginning of a long list of their oddities. I’ve grown them for decades, and they still amaze me. This is the time of year when gardeners start lists of plants they want to try next season. Nasturtiums definitely belong on your list. No others offer their benefits. So here we go -- 15 reasons why these guys are must-haves in every landscape:
1. COOL HISTORY: They are among the first cultivated annuals, discovered in the jungles of Peru in the 1500s.
2. PLANT AND FORGET: They require zero maintenance after seeding except for picking their bright flowers.
3. GROW EVERYWHERE: They love poor soil. High fertility, including fertilizer, cuts down on the flowering. They are perfect for new allotments with rocky, clay soil that grows nothing else.
4. ALWAYS INTERESTING: Their pad-like, circular leaves are like no other. Flowering starts in mid-summer, with waves of brilliant blooms.
5. INSECTS BEWARE: Nasturtiums repel many of the bad guys including aphids, whiteflies, squash bugs, cucumber beetles and others. Planting them around your vegetables is a natural way to limit damage.
6. YARD AND PATIO: They love containers, making them perfect for decks and patios. You don’t need potting soil -- just dig up some dirt out back.
7. THEY GO TO DINNER: Their leaves and flowers are edible and considered delicacies. They offer a peppery flavor in salads and as a garnish. Chop them and use as an herb in many dishes.
8. CASH CROP: Their flowers cost $6 for a small package in gourmet groceries.
9. EAT THE SEEDS: During World War II, their dried seeds were ground and used as a pepper substitute. They also may be pickled in vinegar and used as capers in a variety of recipes.
10. BUY ONCE, ENJOY FOR YEARS: They self-seed every fall, requiring no effort or expense for a nice bed the next season.
11. BAD WEATHER FRIENDS: They are heat and drought resistant, rarely requiring watering. They tolerate cold snaps.
12. WEED FIGHTERS: Their dense growth crowds out all manner of weeds, eliminating that chore.
13. LONG SEASON: They survive mild frosts long after other annuals have expired. Mine often survive into December.
14. EVER BLOOMING: Once the flowers start in mid-summer, they keep producing until the deep freeze of winter. The seeds are produced on small stalks, not from the flowers. Collect them when dry and still enjoy the blooming.
15. PROLIFIC: They are perfect for filling large spaces. Left alone, your bed will nearly double each year.
Have I convinced you? There’s one more thing. Nasturtiums always look happy. Their crazy leaves border on the comical. You never need to worry about them. They live to grow and please you. Send gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. author: Jim Hillibish
found here http://articles.directorym.net/15_reasons_you_should_grow_nasturtiums-a944864.html
Nasturtium Pesto(The best-o pesto--a recipe to die for)
Into a food processor or blender, put the following ingredients:
4 cups packed nasturtium leaves
3 to 5 cloves of garlic
1 and 1/2 cups olive oil
2 drops Tabasco sauce
1 cup walnuts
Process the mixture until smooth.
To store the pesto, Joel suggests freezing it in ice cube trays so it's ready whenever you need it. The pesto, he says, is excellent on top of grilled salmon, halibut, chicken or steak. Just set a pesto ice cube onto each serving and voila, instant gourmet
From Food Network
Nasturtium RisottoRecipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2005
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onions
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio or carnaroli rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, green tops only
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked white pepper
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/2 cup shredded or torn, well washed nasturtium flowers
- 1/4 cup torn fresh chervil leaves
- Sliced chives, for garnish
DirectionsIn a small saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
In a large heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil and the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until opaque, 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring until the rice nearly completely absorbs all the liquid, about 1 minute.
Reduce the heat to medium, add 1 cup of the hot stock, and cook, stirring constantly. Cook the risotto, adding more stock 1/2 cup at a time as it is absorbed, about 20 minutes total cooking time. Stir in the green onions after 15 minutes cooking time. Season the risotto with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper. The rice should be slightly al dente.
Remove from the heat. Add the cheese, nasturtiums, and chervil, and stir well to mix. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, with salt and pepper. Garnish with chives and serve immediately.
From The Splendid Table
Nasturtium CapersAdapted from The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld (Scribner 2000). Copyright 2000 by Jerry Traunfeld.
Makes 1/2 cup
A real caper is the flower bud of a caper plant, Capparis spinosa, and its large seedpod is called a caper berry. The seedpods of nasturtiums look just like the caper plant's buds, and when pickled they taste remarkably similar. Nasturtiums usually don't start forming seedpods until late in the summer and you have to search for them. You'll find them attached to the stems underneath the foliage, where they develop in clusters of three. Pick only young pods that are still green and soft. When they mature, they turn yellowish and the seed inside the pod is very hard and unpalatable.
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup green nasturtium seedpods
- 3/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 fresh bay laurel leaves, or 1 dried
- 2 3-inch sprigs fresh thyme
2. Pickling: Drain the nasturtium seedpods in a fine sieve and return them to the jar. Bring the vinegar, sugar, bay leaves, and thyme to a boil in a small (1-quart) saucepan. Pour the boiling vinegar mixture over the seedpods and let cool. Cover the jar and refrigerate for 3 days before using. They'll keep for 6 months in the refrigerator if covered in the vinegar
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