Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Nasturtium please!

Tropaeolum majus



nasturtium flower
These cheerful, sunny, herbaceous garden inhabitants are underestimated in their charm and culinary value. The ease with which they grow and self propagate as well as their sweet and pepper flavours make them a must in so many ways.

A native of South America it's natural antibiotic properties were used to treat urinary tract infections and the Meso-Americans valued them for their aide to kidney health. Their use to prevent scurvy also points to them being high in vitamin C, in fact they contain approximately 92mg/100gm.

Some other uses that may be of health benefit is as a tea of the buds. Rubbed on the skin it may improve surface circulation and even promote hair regrowth as well as treat excessively oily skin as is mildly astringent.

A poultice of nasturtium leaves and buds may be useful in treating minor cuts, abrasions and mild acne due to it's antibiotic, antiseptic, and antifungal properties.
seedling

Nasturtiums also supply small amounts of vitamin D.

Nasturtiums also contain lutein and zaexanthin, compounds that can help protect your eyes from age-related disorders.

Nasturtiums help deter aphids, squash bugs, white flies, cucumber beetles and a host of other pests. Plant them along side veggies such as tomatoes, cabbage, radishes and cucumbers as they are great garden companions.

Recipes

Brined Nasturtium "vine" leaves

nasturtium leaves
20 large nasturtium leaves
1 cup water
2 tbsp rock salt

Trim the stem close to the leaf and place slightly of centre on top of each other in a row and roll tightly into a cigar and place in a clean sterilised jar with as little gap at the top as possible.

Bring the water and salt to a simmer, turn off and fill the jar and seal. Place the jar on it's lid to cool.

Brine the leaves for a week before using.

Nasturtium Dolmades

nasturtium dolmades

20 brined nasturtium leaves
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 tbsn chia
tbsp water
2 green onions, finely sliced
4 sprigs fennel frond, finely chopped
1 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
1/2 tspn dried mint
1/2 tspn lemon rind, finely chopped
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice 1 lemon, some pulp


Soak the chia in the water for an hour, mix with the quinoa, green onion, herbs and seasoning
place 1/2-2/3 tspn of mix on each leaf and roll neatly and tightly.


Place the rolls in a pan large enough to have one layer and cover with oil and juice mix. 


Poach on a very low heat for 15 minutes.

Serve warm with Greek yoghurt or keep cold in the poaching liquid for a week in the fridge.

Stuffed Nasturtium Leaves

stuffed nasturtium leaves

20 Nasturtium leaves
1/2 cup chicken mince
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
1 tspn chia seed
4 fresh sage leaves
50 gm feta, finely crumbled
1 tbsp lemon rind, finely shredded
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup roasted tomato sauce or passata

Mix the chicken, rice, chia, sage, feta and rind well and season.
Place a small teaspoon on mix on the central star of each leaf and wrap and roll tightly. Lay open edge down in a greased oven proof dish that has a lid. Layer until all leaves are done.

Mix the tomato and stock, season and pour over the nasturtium rolls until covered. place the lid and slow cook in a moderate oven for half an hour. remove lid and allow the sauce to thicken.

Serve as a side, on croutons with a drizzle of olive oil or as a snack

Fakers

fakers - faux capers
(Pickled Nasturtium Pods - Faux Capers)

1/2 a cup of nasturtium buds & pods, washed and dried
250ml rice wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 clove garlic
10 peppercorns
1 bay leaf


Put the vinegar, salt, garlic, bay and peppercorns into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for two minutes, then remove from the heat. Fill a small sterilised jar with the pods and buds then pour the pickling liquid over the buds and pods until the jar is full. Put a lid on the jar and leave for a couple of weeks in a cool place. The buds and pods will be ready to eat when they have sunk to the bottom of the jar. You can keep adding new buds and pods to the liquid.

Use the buds in dressings and salad creams. Use the pods in any recipe that calls for capers.


Green curry paste ingredients

Green Curry Paste

Curry pastes are a "to taste" kind of creation for me and my green curries are a blend of what is in my garden at that time as well as what I have preserved from past harvests.

Adding green nasturtium pods was a natural progression with their sweet peppery flavour.

This is just one of the combinations I have played with to great effect. Don't be shy to try your own.



Nasturtium Flower


add nasturtium to salads

Any green, garden or leafy salad will be lifted to another level of wow with the inclusion of nasturtium flowers
garnish with Nasturtium

Use Nasturtium flowers to add vibrant garnish to any meal

1 comment: