2.12 Nasturtiums.

Botanical name: 

Photo: Tropaeolum majus 6. Latin name: Tropaeolum majus.

2.12.1 Growing Nasturtiums

From: Lawrence.H.Smith.williams.edu (Lawrence H Smith):
Not fussy for "growing at all", but do respond well to rich, loose, well-drained soil & compost, plus regular watering, for growing nice large plants. Differences with the same variety on different spots have been dramatic (plants & leaves 2-3 times larger on good spots). Hummingbirds like the flowers.

From: baker.325.magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (gwen baker)
If they get aphids - usually after midsummer in zone 5 - simply spray with a dilute soap. Any kind will work. Then rinse the leaves well before use.

From: Lawrence.H.Smith.williams.edu (Lawrence H Smith) to above:
Never had much trouble from insects - have had some aphids, had some aphid damage, but it never amounted to anything worth bothering to control. Most bugs don't find nasturtiums _that_ appealing.

2.12.2 Harvesting nasturtiums

From: Lawrence.H.Smith.williams.edu (Lawrence H Smith):
I've had good results just picking leaves & flowers as needed for salad - once established, they produce right up until frost. You probably shouldn't harvest more than about ⅓ of the leaves from plants you intend to keep harvesting from.

2.12.3 Using / preserving nasturtiums

From: baker.325.magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (gwen baker)
Nasturtium leaf is wonderful in salad. Slightly bitter but refreshing. I don't think it preserves very well and should only be used fresh.

From: Lawrence.H.Smith.williams.edu (Lawrence H Smith):
Any sort of cress-ish or lettuce-ish use - they are a bit hot like cress. The flowers are edible as well, and make a nice garnish. Large leaves from plants in rich plots can be used for lettuce-like purposes in sandwiches (or hamburgers) - the smaller ones tend to slip out annoyingly. Flowers do well both in salads, and floating on cold soups. If you like nasturtiums, you can make them the bulk of a salad, with no need for other greens. Great for just eating in the garden. Have not tried preserving - I suppose you could blend up some nasturtium mush and freeze it for use in soup, but it's basically a fresh thing.

False Capers

Pickled Nasturtium Pods or Seeds

From: snielsen.orednet.org (Susan L. Nielsen):
After the blossoms fall, pick off the half-ripened Nasturtium seed pods. Continue as your crop develops to drop them into a boiled and strained mixture of:

1 quart white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Pickling Salt
1 thinly sliced onion
½ teaspoon each allspice, mace and celery seed
3 peppercorns

Keep refrigerated and use as a variation for capers.

Taken from 'The Joy of Cooking', Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc., New York, 1975.

Pickled Nasturtium Flower Buds

From Mary <mbuckNOSPAM.mindspring.com>:
Just soak the flower buds in salt water (10 % brine (1c salt : 2 qts water)) for 24 hours, drain, you soak them in cold water for an hour, drain, then pour boiling vinegar over them to pickle them. For canning process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Exceedingly easy and they taste just as good, if not better than capers.

2.12.4 What kinds of nasturtium are there?

From: Lawrence.H.Smith.williams.edu (Lawrence H Smith):
There's your basic nasturtium with green leaves & red & yellow & orange flowers, the same but with variegated leaves, and a variety with all red flowers and a "more compact" growth habit (cherry flowered, I think it's called). I think there is also a climbing variety, but I don't have any of those.