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Nasturtiums

Why not impress your friends and liven up your salads with Nasturtium petals, flowers, leaves, stems and seeds, they are all edible and have a peppery watercress like taste, the flowers are the mildest and the seed pods the strongest.

Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are easy to grow, have wonderful bright orange, yellow and red flowers and are delicious to eat, sow now to pick throughout the Summer.

Nasturtium seeds are widely available in shops, and garden centres, check on the packet that it is an edible variety. Sow seeds 1cm deep in small pots of compost and place on a warm sunny windowsill at 15-25C to germinate this will take approx. 7-14 days. Grow your plants on and harden off before planting outside after all risk of frost has passed.

Nasturtiums are fast growing and will sprawl across the ground if planted in the border or trail and create an attractive cascade if planted in a hanging basket, window box or container. Nasturtiums need very little attention, they grow best in full sun preferring the soil to be slightly dry, containers can dry out quickly so may need to be watered more often, Rain Gel Water Storage granules added to the compost will hold the moisture in and reduce the frequency of watering.

Start picking from your plants when several leaves and the bright flowers (approx. 6 weeks after sowing) have appeared. Always ask an adult before eating anything from the garden.

Here are some culinary suggestions for your Nasturtiums:

  • Make attractive flowery ice cubes, place the flowers/petals in an ice cube tray with water and freeze.
  • Nasturtium Butter – use to flavour potatoes, vegetables, fish or chicken.
  • Make Flavoured Oils, Vinegars or Dressings using the flowers and leaves.
  • Stuffed Nasturtium flowers – fill large flowers with, cream cheese, humus or guacamole and gently fold in the petals.
  • Include in a Salad or use as a garnish.

Towards the end of Summer allow some flowers to set seed, collect the seeds when they change from green to a tan colour, spread them out on a paper plate indoors to dry out for approx. two weeks before storing in an airtight container in a cool, dry place – you can plant these next year.

Even if you don’t fancy eating Nasturtiums or you dislike their taste they are definitely worthy of a place in your garden they are vibrant, easy to grow and will brighten up any corner.

Gill

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