nasturtiums are too pretty to eat….no they’re not! how you can eat them & make nasturtium aioli

Posted by on Oct 29, 2017 in Home | 19 Comments

Is it wrong to admire the beauty of something then chow it down? Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are not just pretty…they’re a tasty multipurpose powerhouse. They self seed, are ridiculously easy to grow, look after themselves, pests don’t eat them, attract pollinators, and they keep nasty bugs away from other plants. Nutritionally they are high in Vitamin C, contain flavonoids and boast anti fungal properties. Being a lazy gardener, nasturtiums are perfection. All they need is full sun with moist, well drained soil (Spring and Autumn are good times to plant). I have been growing a jewel mix for years with pretty yellow, orange and red flowers (I only planted the once!). Just remember to trim them back if you don’t want them to dominate your life completely. I let them go feral and grow through everything because it helps keep the nasties away.

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This may or may not be breaking news but you can use every part of the nasturtium plant; the seeds, leaves and flowers. They are actually herbs! The leaves and flowers taste pretty similar (and to how they smell) with a peppery, sweet flavour so you can substitute them for rocket or watercress. I mainly use the flowers and leaves in salads but they also look fantastic on cakes and for decorating dishes. You can use the leaves to flavour butter or cream cheese or put a handful of flowers in white wine vinegar (for a few days) and reap the reward of peppery vinegar. You can also use the seed pods as a replacement for capers. Mind blown! I often make aioli so I add some nasturtium leaves at the end to give it a peppery hit that will go nicely with my polenta chips.

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N  A  S  T  U  R  T  I  U  M     A  I  O  L  I

1 very fresh organic egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup sunflower oil
2 teaspoons of finely chopped nasturtium leaves
good quality salt

You can use a food processor or give yourself a work out and use a whisk (I tend to use my food processor). Whiz the egg, lemon juice and garlic until well combined then add the oil very slowly while the motor is running (or whisking) to emulsify. Process until it thickens and becomes beautiful and creamy. Add salt to taste along the way. Stir in the nasturtium leaves at the end and give it a bit of time in the fridge so the flavours can get friendly.

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19 Comments

  1. Tandy | Lavender and Lime
    October 31, 2017

    I was just saying to Dave that I need to replant nasturtium seeds in my garden. I made a stunning jelly from the flowers. Will have to find some plants to try out your recipe.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      October 31, 2017

      A jelly from the flowers? That sounds fantastic Tandy. I love your creative recipes. You should put that one up one day…when you grow them again 😄

      Reply
  2. Ngeun
    October 31, 2017

    We love nasturtiums. Delicious and pretty! Thanks for introducing them to us. I gave mum some seeds to try and she now has them growing in her garden too. I tried to grow the Phoenix variety but I think I overwatered the seeds! This aioli sounds delicious and so does Tandy’s jelly. Yum! 🙂

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      October 31, 2017

      Awesome Ngeun-they are so easy to grow and the rewards are endless! Very versatile plant. I’m not familiar with the Phoenix variety so I’ll look it up 😄

      Reply
  3. Function 9
    November 1, 2017

    Yum! Nasturtium aioli. I have no problems eating them lol.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      November 1, 2017

      Haha, I didn’t think you did. Nasturtium aioli is the bomb!

      Reply
  4. All That I'm Eating
    November 2, 2017

    They are so pretty, I love the flowers and leaves.

    Reply
  5. Sam Rutherford
    November 3, 2017

    Gosh I have always seen these but didn’t even know you could eat them. Not sure if I could eat flowers but might give it a go.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      November 3, 2017

      Definitely give them a go Sam. So many people are familiar with nasturtiums (they are everywhere) but don’t know you can eat them!

      Reply
  6. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    November 3, 2017

    Ooh they’re easy to grow!? I’m so there! I might buy some for my mother too! 😀 Thanks Jem!

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      November 3, 2017

      Yep, they are and that’s the main reason I love them. They’re unstoppable!

      Reply
  7. sherry MacKay
    November 7, 2017

    ooh wow that aioli sounds delish Jem! i knew you could eat the flowers but i didn’t know about eating the seed pods or the other bits:) And yes they are so pretty too. it’s really hard to get capers these days – I mean aussie ones, of good quality as they sell out so fast, so i’ll have to keep this in mind. hope you are enjoying Spring! cheers sherry xx

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      November 7, 2017

      Thanks Sherry, I know what you mean about sourcing quality capers that are local. I was using some from the Sunshine Coast recently which was good. I’m definitely enjoying Spring but bracing for the heat lol.

      Reply
  8. Aria
    November 7, 2017

    This nasturtium aioli looks so pretty and delicious I like this sharing so much!! Thank you.

    Reply
  9. Agness of Run Agness Run
    November 9, 2017

    I’ve never used or seen nasturtium plants, but they seem so great and easy to grow, Jem. Can I use olive oil instead of sunflower oil?

    Reply

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