Waiter, There’s a Flower in My Salad.

July 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

I am a miserable farmer, it’s true.  But I am able to grow decent flowers and herbs, and Nasturtiums are both, so how could I go wrong? Nasturtiums are the A#1 recommendation for children’s  gardens – they’re that easy to grow. This year I planted seeds and got a lot (a lot) of foliage.  When the first leaves poked through the soil we were so excited! Days passed and the leaves grew wider and taller. “Oh my, this will be a bumper crop Nasturtium flowers,” we thought.  It has been, instead, a bumper crop of Nasturtium leaves. A few flowers, yes, but mostly leaves. Which left me dejected, until I learned that nasturtium leaves are absolutely delicious.

I knew that Nasturtium petals were edible – I’ve seen them in the herb section at PCC, and thought they’d make a lovely garnish.  But today was the first time I had actual tasted one.  I picked a (precious) petal from a Nasturtium plant in my garden and was dee-lighted!  The petal had the  peppery flavor of cress or arugula – very cheeky for such a pretty little petal.  I was moved to Google ‘Nasturtium recipes’ and found a bunch – some more appealing than others.  I don’t think Nasturtium blossoms stuffed with cream cheese is my thing, but I did learn that I could eat the hundreds of leaves that are growing in my backyard.  The leaves taste just like the hydroponic watercress that I buy for $2.99/bunch. What a revelation.  Also, you can pickle the seeds that develop later in the summer and make ‘poor man’s capers’. I’m neither poor nor a man, but I do love capers, so I’ll try this recipe later in the summer.  Tonight my family had a salad of cucumber, lettuce, Nasturtium leaves & blooms with dill vinaigrette and it was delicious (‘zesty’ according to one diner).  Next year I’ll plant even more Nasturtiums – half will be for admiring, and the other half will be for devouring.

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