I love that something so pretty can also be so useful. I plant nasturtiums in my vegetable garden as a companion plant to help deter cucumber and squash beetles, as well as several other garden pests. In addition to being helpful in the garden, all parts of the plant are edible. The leaves and flowers can be used in salads, and earlier this summer I showed you how I make nasturtium vinegar. I also read some information indicating nasturtium has a place in herbal medicine with antibiotic, antifungal, antibacterial and possibly antiviral properties. I have yet to confirm if this information is true, and plan to do some digging around.
Yesterday I picked nasturtium seeds and pickled them. They grow in little clusters of three, and should be picked green for pickling.
Pickled nasturtium seeds are also called nasturtium capers, poor man’s capers, and California capers. I made a very small batch consisting of 2 small jars. I’ll probably make a couple more jars before the first frost.
1 cup green nasturtium seeds
2/3 cup white wine or rice wine vinegar
1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 small bay leaves
Rinse seeds thoroughly. I placed mine in a bowl with a little salt and had to rub them a little bit to get them clean. It’s been raining, and the dead blossoms were stuck to the seeds.
Follow standard practices for getting your canning jars ready. Place 6 peppercorns, half the fennel seeds, and one bay leaf in the bottom of each jar. Add seeds to jars. Combine vinegar and salt in a pan and bring up to a boil. Pour vinegar over seeds.
Place lids on jars and water bath process the seeds for 10 minutes. It’s best to allow the “capers” to rest in the jars for a few weeks to fully develop their pickled flavor.