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anybody eat nasturtium?

 
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I've tried a couple times eating the leaf raw. It tastes like... like eating a leaf.  All these websites say it's peppery but I don't  taste it. Do I need to eat them when they are a certain size? I haven't tried the flowers yet; Right now I don't have any.  I hope I don't have to wait till spring for some blooms.
 
steward
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I eat the flowers; the leaves taste..leafy, as you know!
 
pollinator
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i eat the leaves and flowers in mixed salads. but to me they just taste like nasturtiums. only a little bit though, never a lot at once.
 
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Maybe you don't have the right variety. Mine are REALLY peppery, to the point where they are best used as flavoring for other greens. They don't get to be very big plants, though.
 
Jordan Lowery
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how big do yours get? mine are about 4 ft wide and 2 ft tall. 6 inch leaves.
 
                        
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I eat the flowers...I think they taste like a radish and have a delightful texture that compliment a salad of mixed greens nicely.
 
Mother Tree
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All the ones we've eaten have tasted peppery.  I once sent my other half off to work with nasturium and blue cheese sandwiches.  I think that was the day he fell in love.  I've grown them ever since 
 
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Location: Missoula Montana
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Eat the flowers, they are the best part.  I even grew some strange black variety (which was really a dark red) in Colorado a couple years ago.

What other varieties are out there?
 
gardener
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Rebecca Dane wrote:
Eat the flowers, they are the best part.  I even grew some strange black variety (which was really a dark red) in Colorado a couple years ago.

What other varieties are out there?



We grow mixed colors here, some of the ordinary yellow, orange, red kinds mostly.  My favorites are 2-tone deep red with yellow, or white with streaks of orange - that kind of thing.  The flowers are definitely the best part.

Most leaves taste like leaves... that's why fast food is so popular.
 
                    
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the whole plant from shoots up.  without preference. delish. I dont know which is which, but i have found some color/types more peppery than others. Im a gourmand, not a gourmet. I just eat them, and plenty!
 
pollinator
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We have grown nasturtions for years for restaurants and ourselves.  A tasty treat is to mix some chives with goat cheese.  Pick a leaf with all the stem still on it.  Roll the leaf up with the cheese in it and tie it with the stem.  Tie a blossom under the stem for a little color, and then pop the whole thing in your mouth.  To die for!
 
travis laduke
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I wonder if we have the same variety. I didn't plant these, just let them take over.  Is there a better time or size to eat them? It's "winter" here now; I think that's why I don't have any flowers. This will at least look pretty come spring.





Any suggestions for cutting them back or anything?
 
Ed Waters
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Travis, are you fertilizing them?  Two things that I know about that will stop them from flowering are too much heat and fertilizer.  We start every year from seed in big buckets and in really crappy soil, and water then when they wilt.  Seems to work.

Ed
 
travis laduke
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No, not fertilizing. I did grow a nitrogen fixer cover crop mix there last winter. Everything in the picture is in the shade of the fence during the winter.

Last summer they were flowering. I saved a bunch of seed, but these all came up on their own. They must like disturbed soil, because I dug up the yard, didn't like the way it looked, and leveled it again.
 
                                    
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I suppose you could call the peppery or radishy, but I can't stomach them.  To me they taste ... Astringent???...I'm not sure how to describe it.  I think I'll keep growing them anyway as they look nice and are a good groundcover.
 
                      
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We eat the flowers and the leaves.  They make a pretty salad AND a great conversation starter (esp when you pluck a leaf off and casually eat it in front of your guests).  I usually have them growing on the back deck~ the usual gathering spot.  .
 
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I don't like the leaves but the flowers are great. I love the yellow ones!

I grow them everywhere. When the autumn comes I cut them to the ground, leave all the seed capsules in place and shred the plant for in-place-decomposition. Great biomass plant.
 
                                    
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My favorite part to eat is the seed-very peppery.  After reading this thread, though, I'm goimg to make more use of them.  I really like that roll up idea.  Mine come up reliably from the dropped seed every year. 
 
steward
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What awesome ideas in this thread! I'm also a flower eater, and love them! Someone told me (was it you, Erica?) about canning (pickling?) your own "capers" using nasturtium seeds. Especially useful for those of us in the Northern climates where the true caper bush wouldn't grow as easily. Has anyone done this?
 
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I've grown and tried them before a few years ago, but perhaps it's the variety I tried...didn't taste good, so I never became a fan. I know they're in the brassica family and there are many species and varieties available. I bet some are better for culinary purposes than others. I'll be growing them again this year as trap crops and companion plants. Will plant a few different varieties and see if I have a better culinary experience this time round.
 
travis laduke
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Finally got some flowers. I think I get it now. Sweet and spicy. Would eat again.
 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
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maikeru wrote:
I know they're in the brassica family and there are many species and varieties available.


No, Nasturtium is in the Tropaeolaceae family. Tropaeolaceae and the Brassica family are in the Brassicales order. Not every dog is a dachshund but every dachshund is a dog. That's how my biology teacher tried to hammer biological taxonomy in my useless mind, haha.
 
pollinator
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:What awesome ideas in this thread! I'm also a flower eater, and love them! Someone told me (was it you, Erica?) about canning (pickling?) your own "capers" using nasturtium seeds. Especially useful for those of us in the Northern climates where the true caper bush wouldn't grow as easily. Has anyone done this?


Fermented immature nasturtium seed pods are delicious. I was even going to sell them when I had a small farm and fermentation business, but the first year I didn't plant enough to get enough seedpods to harvest at any one time. I would have seeded a lot more the next year, but life had other ideas for me! Anyway, they're really simple to make. This recipe looks about right.

I love to eat the leaves and flowers, too. Every variety I've ever tried has tasted quite peppery and good, much like arugula or watercress. But I have mostly used them as accents in salads rather than as the backbone.

I'm trying again to grow them this year. They don't seem to like our high desert grassland and hot, windy late spring/early summer very much, sadly, but I keep trying to find a place for them and the right time to seed them!
 
gardener
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Someone told me (was it you, Erica?) about canning (pickling?) your own "capers" using nasturtium seeds. Especially useful for those of us in the Northern climates where the true caper bush wouldn't grow as easily. Has anyone done this?



This is a new and very welcome idea to me, since capers are one of my guilty pleasures.  A quick web search seems to turn up broad agreement that these "nasturtium capers" are very good and can substitute for true capers quite happily.  There are a lot of vinegar pickling recipes out there of varying complexity, but I think my first experiment (if this year's nasturtiums thrive) is going to be this very simple lacto-fermentation approach.
 
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A local "café" up here had made fermented nasturtium seed hot-sauce. Sort of like a salsa verde style. It went very well with their sourdough take on an eggs benedict!
 
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Haven't tried them yet but thought this post needed some colour photos.
IMG_20200411_133054.jpg
I plaited iris leaves so the nasturtiums could climb up.
I plaited iris leaves so the nasturtiums could climb up.
IMG_20200411_133237.jpg
Plaited iris leaves :)
Plaited iris leaves :)
 
pollinator
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Nice one Nik!

We eat the flowers straight from the garden or in salads or for whatever platter tastes great but needs a colour boost and a bit of fun.
The leaves dry really quickly, you crumble them and store them in airtight jars and use them in a salt mix or "straight" to give an interesting peppery taste to food.



They grow fast, are beautiful, edible, fill spaces beautifully, climb when they have to.

Grow them.
 
Nik Brindley
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Irene Kightley wrote:Nice one Nik!

We eat the flowers straight from the garden or in salads or for whatever platter tastes great but needs a colour boost and a bit of fun.
The leaves dry really quickly, you crumble them and store them in airtight jars and use them in a salt mix or "straight" to give an interesting peppery taste to food.



They grow fast, are beautiful, edible, fill spaces beautifully, climb when they have to.

Grow them.


Thanks Irene, I'm gonna give that ago!  :)
IMG_20200420_163734.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20200420_163734.jpg]
 
pollinator
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I have pickled nasturtium pods. They are tasty, but you can't fry them like you can capers, they contain too much moisture. The leaves and flowers are nice as well. I've made a nice pesto with them before. I had a friend that would use the flowers in her mead making. It added a nice peppery taste to counter all the sweetness. They can also be used to infuse vinegar for use in salad dressings.

When I lived in the Bay Area, I had a sheltered spot where they wouldn't die off. It was such an easy and prolific plant. I haven't had any luck with them here in southern Oregon, the wildlife eat them before I can get any. But I will keep trying.
 
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