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Nasturtiums.

Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 10:49:01 -0500
The Culinary Herbs & Spices List <HERBS.HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
From: Cindy Wysocki <Wysockifc.AOL.COM>
Subject: Nasturtiums

I am new to this list but was pleased to see one of my favorite subjects, nasturtiums, as a topic...I grow several kinds every year and the favorite way to use them (other than just having the pleasure of their flowers) is to stuff the flowers with a cheese spread...I use either Boursin from the deli counter or make my own with cream cheese and herbs...we also put both the flowers and leaves in green salads...the peppery taste is really quite nice...enjoy!

Cindy in Northern New Mexico (maybe today I'll even start some nasturtiums in pots!)


From: Russell Hansen <Russell.Hansen.qed.qld.gov.au>

For those of you who haven't heard before, they say pickled nasturtium seeds make a good substitute for capers (not that I'm a capers fan).

So I thought I'd post a recipe for anyone who wants to try.

Pickled Nasturtium Seeds
(Once again from Jill Grahams - Cooking with herbs and spices)

60g (2 oz) Salt
1 cup Boiling water
200-250g (7-8 oz) plump green nasturtium seeds
1.5 - 2 cups hot, pickling vinegar

Dissolve salt in boiling water. Stir in 1 cup of cold water. Leave until cold. Soak seeds in cold brine for 24 hours. Drain, do not rinse. Pack seeds firmly into small, warmed, screwtop jars. Cover with almost boiling vinegar. Seal jars witha circle of paper and lids and leave in a cool place for 3 weeks before using.


From: Cats <starfire.NETCOM.COM>

hi!

nasturtiums are one of my favorites too!

I used them to make pinwheel hors d'oeuvres, as well as in salads.

to make the pinkwheels, first mix softened cream cheese with just a bit of horseradish. spread it fairly thickly (1/8 inch) on plain flour tortillas, then lay your favorite herbs on the cheese... i've used chives (stems and flowers), nasts flowers and leaves, dill, rose petals, calendula...pretty much anything you like. you can also put in drains pimentos, very thinly sliced ham... (i usually make each one different, it makes the plates more fun)..

then roll up the tortillas very firmly, and put in the icebox to chill for at least an hour. slice to about 1/4 inch.


From: Laurie Otto <lotto.PTIALASKA.NET>

Hope I'm not getting boring, for some reason I've been inspired to be a prolific contributor. Anyway, in thinking about a question on sage flowers, I remembered Flower Cookery by Mary MacNicol and got it out to see what it had to say about sage flowers. Since we are at the end of having nasturtiums as one of the herbs of the week, I thought I'd see what Ms. MacNicol had dug out of old books in relation to Nasturtiums. Here goes (all the following quotes are from the book, mostly quoting from other books which are noted here where they are noted by Ms. MacNicol):

"The Indian cress our climate now do's bear
Call'd Larksheel 'cause he wears a horse-man's spur,
This gilt-spun knight prepares his course to run
Taking his signal from the rising sun,
And stimulates his flow'r to meet the day
So Castor mounted spurs his steed away
This warrior sure has in some battle been
For spots of blood upon his breast are seen." -Abraham Cowley

"STUFFED NASTURTIUMS. Take tuna fish and mix with chopped parsley, capers and sweet pickles, then blend with mayonnaise. Go into your garden and pick the largest and most perfect nasturtiums you can find and stuff each with a teaspoonful of this mixture. Put on a dish and pour over French dressing. This can be garnished with other flowers, a very striking one would be borage."

"NASTURTIUM CIGARETTES. Make a fish relish and add anchovies and spread on nasturtium leaves, sans stems. Roll into cigaretttes and tie with thread. Steep in vinegar seasoned with bayleaf, thyme and slat. White wine can take the place of the vinegar. Garnish with nasturtium flowers."

"Comtesse Berjane recommends serving stuffed nasturtiums with Sauce Chantilly - mayonnaise thinned slightly with whipped cream. The mayonnaise would be made with lemon juice, not vinegar."

"Try sliced apples trimmed with nasturtium flowers."

"Mix nasturtium flowers with butter or creamed cheese and spread on orange-nut bread, good at any time."

"NASTURTIUM PUNCH. Take 2 dozen nasturtium flowers, half a cup of claret, a pound of sugar and 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Make a paste of the flowers and half the sugar. Reserve the balance of the sugar for tyrup and add the lemon juice and flower paste. When cold add the claret."

"Nasturtium symbolizes patriotism."

"Those who make wry faces when they taste mustard-oil or Water-Cress should appreciate the generic name NASTURTIUM from the latin NASUS TORTUS, a convulsed nose. This generic name, for centuries belonging to Watercress, has in popular usage, been transferred to the wholly different South American TROPAEOLUM. Ask any non-botanical seedsman for NASTURTIUM; you will surely get TROPAEOLUM! One who uses the latter name is a 'prig.'" -Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America, Merritt Lyndon Fernald and Alfred Charles Kinsey

"Nasturtium leaves contain ten times as much vitamin C as lettuce."

"NASTURTIUM PEPPER. Gather ripe seeds and grind. Salt added will add to the flavor. Store in dry, closely-stopped bottles. (This was a substitute for pepper during World War II when pepper was very expensive and at times unobtainable.)"

"Make a mixture of cream cheese, raisins and nuts, I like walnuts better, roll up in nasturtium leaves, and tie with a long-stemmed flower."

"Pickled nasturtium seeds are good in martinis."

That's definitely ENOUGH for now. The above are only a few of the selections on nasturtiums from Flower Cookery. I'm really glad that this list inspired me to get it out; I haven't looked at it in years and it really is a most interesting book.


From: Mindy <mvinqvist.MTA.CA>

I have grown the dwarf nasturtiums and they were lovely. They liked lots of sun and needed lots of water. A few self seeded so that last fall I got a small second crop (we had a good Indian summer). Sorry but I have no recipes.


From: Laurie Otto <lotto.PTIALASKA.NET>

I'm very fond of nasturtiums. When I was a kid, we had a water pump out back that was always surrounded by masses of nasturtiums in the summer. We had tea parties with nasturtium flowers, and always thought we were very elegant. I grow them every year; they seem an essential part of summer.

The word nasturtium comes from nasus, which is Latin for nose, and torquere, which means to twist - in other words, nose twisters! The nasturtium is native to Peru, where it is a perennial. Alas, in Alaska we grow it as an annual. In addition to tasting great, it is beautiful. I do companion planting of zucchini and nasturtiums, and have never had a problem with squash bugs. Empress of India is a particularly attractive cultivar - it has very dark green leaves and red flowers. Another attractive planting is to make lobelia baskets with bright gold Whirlybird nasturtiums.

Before eating nasturtiums, as with any herbs, don't use insecticide or fertilizer like Miracle Grow on the leaves (I don't like using fertilizer on nasturtiums anyway because it seems to make them too leafy without flowers). I try not to wash the flowers; they are really too fragile. BUT, be sure to inspect for insects and to shake or brush them off the flowers.

I've been thinking that maybe we haven't had enough recipes lately. I think people have already discussed that nasturtium flowers and leaves are both excellent salad ingredients; they add a peppery flavor that really perks up a salad. Nasturtium vinegar is well-worth making too. Use white wine vinegar and nasturtium flowers and let steep for a couple of weeks, replacing the flowers several times over that period of time. It takes on a lovely pink color, and makes good vinaigrette. I also make compound butters with nasturtium flowers be mixing softened butter and lots of nasturtium flowers in the food processor with a little lemon juice. I freeze this in little logs, and then cut off pieces all winter as needed. This is great to perk up salmon or halibut (or other fish), or potatoes, or with radishes, or with whatever your imagination dreams up. Another way to preserve the harvest is to make nasturtium pasta - it's got a nice peppery flavor and is very colorful. An easy way to fix this is to dress the boiled pasta with olive oil and fresh garlic. Hmmm. I can't wait for summer!

From Edible Flowers from Garden to Palate (by Cathy Wilkinson Barash - the best book on edible flowers I've seen):

Salmon Nasturtium Pizza
pizza dough for 10"-12" pie
1 cup peas, pureed
1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
salt and peper to taste
1 cup frisee or chicory, small leaves
6 slices smoked salmon
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
15 (or more!) nasturtium flowers

Preheat oven to 450F. Shape pizza dough and bake for 2-3 minutes - do not allow it to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Puree peas with olive oil, parmesan, salt and pepper. Spread on pizza dough and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and arrange salmon, onion and flowers on top.

Grilled Salmon with Nasturtium Vinaigrette
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup shallots, finely diced
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup snipped nasturtium flowers
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
8 3 ounce pieces of salmon fillet
chives for garnish

Preheat broiler or grill. Combine vinegar, shallots, and all but 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Whisk until combined. Salt and pepper to taste. Add nasturtiums and chives. Rub salmon with remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place on grill for 3 minutes. Turn, and cook until done (About 3 more minutes, depending on thickness) Place two pieces of salmon on each serving plate. Whisk vinaigrette and sppon over salmon. Garnish.


From: Laurie Otto <lotto.PTIALASKA.NET>

> On the nasturtium pasta, do you puree the leaves or flowers (or both) to add to the flour to make the pasta? This sounds so intriguing (since I love to grow nasturtiums & love to make herb pasta!). Let me know!

I don't puree it; I just chop VERY finely. For a pasta recipe using around a cup of flour, I add about 3 Tbsp. chopped leaves or flowers. If making egg pasta, I mix the nasturtiums in with the eggs before adding to the flour. If I'm not using eggs, I mix the nasturtiums with the olive oil before adding.

Something I haven't tried yet is something that I think was called hankerchief pasta - there was a recipe during the last six months in Fine Cooking magazine. They took a length of rolled out pasta, put a layer of herbs on half, folded the other half over, and ran it through the machine again a couple of times. The pasta was thin enough that you could see the herbs through; it looked really attractive. Although the magazine only used herbs leaves, I bet the same technique would be gorgeous with herb or other edible flowers. Another use for sage flowers!!


From: Jenny Evans <JENNYE.NAIT.AB.CA>

>Before eating nasturtiums...be sure to inspect for insects

Apologies for posting a non-serious story about nasturtiums, which the above reminded me of.

When I was about 9 we had a lot of nasturtiums that were the home (and probably food) of a lot of pale green very squishy caterpillers. I spent a happy afternoon collection the critters and deposited them in my older sister's bed. That night I lay awake happily waiting for the loud yells. My sister never noticed the caterpillers until the morning when, alas, they were all a squishy green pattern on the sheets (except one escapee who was climbing up the wall) and I was a very unpopular kid for a while.


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