Discover Incredible Nasturtiums

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Image by Otto Wenninger via Pixabay

Nasturtiums, with their vibrant flowers and lush foliage, are not only a visual delight but also an incredible edible. Both the leaves and the flowers of the Nasturtium plant are known for their culinary uses due to their distinctive peppery flavor, similar to watercress or arugula. Here’s why nasturtiums are considered an incredible edible:

Culinary Uses

Flowers:

The bright, often multicolored blooms of nasturtiums are edible and often used to add a splash of color to salads, hors d’oeuvres, and garnishes. They have a sweet, floral flavor at first, followed by a peppery tang. Make sure they are clean and free from pests before you add them to your dish.

Quick Growing Guide

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Botanical Name: Tropaeolum majus

Botanical Family: Brassicaceae

En français: Capucines

Blooms:

Watering:

Pollinators:

Hardiness Zones:

Leaves:

The round, green leaves of the nasturtium have a peppery flavor that can spice up salads, sandwiches, or even green smoothies. They can also be used as a decorative and flavorful base for plating.

Seed Pods:

The immature seed pods can be harvested, pickled, or fermented. They are known as “poor man’s capers” and can be used just like traditional capers, adding a spicy flavor to many dishes.

Nutritional Benefits

Nasturtiums are rich in vitamins, including high levels of vitamin C. They also contain essential minerals like iron, manganese, and calcium. The plant is known to have natural antibiotic properties. Eating a couple of the peppery leaves at the onset of a cold is a traditional folk remedy.

Medicinal Uses

Traditionally, nasturtiums have been used to help combat various health issues like respiratory infections, coughs, and bronchitis due to their expectorant capabilities and natural antibiotic effects.

The plant’s high vitamin C content boosts the immune system, while the natural antibiotics can act as a gentle remedy for minor infections.

Easy to Grow

Nasturtiums are low-maintenance, fast-growing plants that can thrive in gardens, containers, and hanging baskets. They prefer well-drained soil and full to partial sunlight. They’re also known for their ability to thrive in less-than-ideal soil conditions.

If you live in Zone 8 or lower, your plants will most certainly die if left outside over the winter. Nasturtium, fortunately, reseeds rapidly. If allowed to go to seed, some will sprout from the same spot in the spring if they fell to the ground the previous fall, even if you haven’t harvested seeds for replanting.

They are excellent companion plants. Nasturtiums are often planted near vegetables and fruit trees to repel pest insects, like aphids, whiteflies, and squash bugs, possibly due to their strong scent. This makes them especially valuable in organic gardening.

Precautions

While nasturtiums are generally considered safe for most people to eat, some individuals may experience stomach upset or mild allergic reactions. As with any edible plant, it’s essential to consume it in moderation. Ensure that the nasturtiums you plan to eat have not been treated with pesticides or chemicals, especially if they’re sourced from outside your garden.

In conclusion, nasturtiums are not only a beautiful addition to your garden but also a nutritious, medicinal, and flavorful one for your kitchen. They truly earn their status as an incredible edible!

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