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How to Make Capers from Nasturtium Seed Pods

Nasturtium

One of the most versatile flowers to grow in your garden is the Nasturtium for a few simple reasons: Everything is edible, pollinators love them and it attracts black fly and aphids keeping them away from your veggies.

Nasturtium yellow flower

Tropaeolum, common name Nasturtium, was named so because the plant produces an oil similar to watercress (Nasturtium officinale). The flowers come in a raft of colours ranging from creams and yellows to orange to scarlet. They thrive in poor soil and dry conditions so this summer was a good year for Nasturtiums. There are bush varieties and scrambling ones that spread out and can tangle themselves around other plants, so bear that in mind if your space is limited.

Companion plant

Nasturtiums are perfect companion plants for your vegetables for two main reasons – they attract lots of pollinators and can be grown for sacrificial purposes if you have an aphid or black fly problem.

Nasturtium seed pod 2

Edible

The  petals liven up any salad with their bright colours and the leaves add a nice peppery taste.  The leaves can also be used to make a lovely garden pesto. This year however I was focusing on their seed pods to make the poor man’s capers. True capers come from the caper plant but the nasturtium seed pods make a delicious substitute that anyone can grow.

Nasturtium Seed Pods

Recipe for Nasturtium ‘Poor Man’s’ Capers

This is what you need:

100 g nasturtium seed pods (still firm and green)

15 g salt

200 ml white wine vinegar

A few peppercorns and herbs such as dill or bay leaves

This is how you do it:

Dissolve the salt in 300 ml of water and place the nasturtium seed pods into a bowl and add the salty water. Leave for 24 hours.

Drain the seedpods and dry well. Pack into small sterilised jars with the peppercorns and herbs of your choice. Leave room for 1 cm of vinegar on top.

Cover the pods with the vinegar and seal the jars with vinegar proof lids. Store in a cool, dark place and leave for a few weeks before eating.

Use within a year.

Nasturtium capers

By Laila Noort

My name is Laila Noort. Originally the gardener of a 2×2 square metre garden, balcony and windowsill in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, I am now the owner of more than 2,000 square metres of grassland in the Belgian Ardennes. I used to work as a secretary in an office but always felt there must be more to life…

8 replies on “How to Make Capers from Nasturtium Seed Pods”

Thank you for your comment Kathy, I have had great success with nasturtium this year but I have to admit I grew them in the polytunnel which must be the perfect environment for them. The leaves are lovely as well and I have made many batches of garden pesto with them. YUM!

I use the capers in Italian dishes and yesterday in couscous. They have a very strong taste due to the vinegar, next time I would put a little bit more salt in because I like the sour/salty taste of capers but that it a personal choice.

Hi Michael, thanks for your comment, we are very happy you enjoy our articles! Nasturtium will be fantastic as a trellising plant. When you pass the fence you will be greeted by a lovely peppery smell and loads of pollinators, perfect for a veg garden. Not sure how high your fence is but I can also recommend growing some sweet peas. Heavenly smell and Rebecca will love them in a small vase. 🙂

This is so cool…seriously, is there anything a nasturtium can’t do?! I recently saw a recipe for nasturtium pesto. Between that, these capers and munching on them in a salad, I’m really looking forward to warmer weather. Thanks for the idea!

Hi Brande thanks for your comment. Nasturtiums are a must have in the kitchen garden right? Luckily there are many varieties so it is even possible to grow them in a container garden because they sure can take over. At one point I had so many seeds left I dried them and have been doing some guerrilla gardening in my neighbourhood, fingers crossed they will take over some empty commune flower beds. HA!

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