Tropaeolum – commonly known as nasturtium is not only an ornamental plant, but also a tasty herb

Tropaeolum

Nasturtium is a beautiful plant that can grow either as a shrub (Tropaeolum minus) or as a climbing plant (Tropaeolum majus). Orange, yellow or red flowers are typical for this plant and its leaves resemble water lilies. The plant is very attractive and loves the sun – that’s why many gardeners plant it on spots which are too hot for other flowers. It can handle some shade – but shade will reduce flowering.

A tasty herb

So, Nasturtium looks great and some of us may even confuse it with peppercress. This is because both of these herbs are edible and have a peppery taste. If you want to have nasturtium that tastes the best (you can eat flowers, stems and leaves), you need to water it regularly. If you do, the taste will be less spicy and therefore suitable for more people. If you have a plant that suffered from drought, the taste will be very strong.

How to consume nasturtium?

You can harvest it throughout the summer but make sure to collect young leaves to enjoy the delicate taste. If you want to eat flowers, you can pick them at any stage – buds and unripe seed pods taste little bit like capers. Another good idea is to use blossomed flowers to improve the look of your dishes. You can also consume seeds, which after grinding, you can use as pepper. But be advised that overripe seeds taste bitter, so make sure to harvest them in time.

Tropaeolum
Photo: Pixabay

How to use this plant in various dishes

Nasturtium has a similar taste to peppercress, so you should use it in a similar way. It goes well with potato and egg dishes, but it is also good in salads. Sometimes people use it to harmonize the taste of seafood, or they make pesto from it. The preparation method is the same as for basil pesto, just replace the basil with young nasturtium leaves. You can also chop leaves and mix them with cream cheeses.


Photo: Pixabay 

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.

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