Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nuts about Nasturium

I just absolutely adore these flowers!! They grew so beautifully this year, it went far beyond my expectations.

My garden is edged with a gorgeous array of spicy edible plants. It makes me smile every time I go outside to see these bright and sunny flowers.

Even on rainy days, they are so brilliant amongst the green they practically glow. None of the pictures I've taken capture this effect as intense as it is in person.

Who needs skittles when you've got Nasturtiums? They're a real rainbow of flavors.

They grew in various shade of yellow, from pale cream tinged with peach, to solid buttery, sunshiny yellow through neon bright yellow with red or orange triangles inside the flower. There is also bright orange, and a beautiful deep ruby red. I also love how the leaves look like little lily pads. One plant is a lot frillier than the rest - I'm not sure if it is another type that got mixed in with the packet of mixed climbing rainbow that I bought.
But the red is definitely my favorite. I am going to try saving some of these seeds for next year.
This weekend is going to be all about trying to save these beautiful plants before they're destroyed by frost. I'm thinking of drying some using the new dehydrator, but can't find too many things to do with them. I think I am going to invest in a Sunwave flower press, so I can make cards and other crafts for christmas presents. But in the meantime it looks like next week will have to be chock full of eating various nasturtium dishes. I've found a ton of ideas!

Aside from just tossing the blooms in a regular salad, this Apple and Sprout salad looks great (and could use some of the season's best fruit if it stops raining long enough to go to the nearest u-pick or farmers market).

This looks like a decent recipe for stuffed flowers, but probably instead of tofutti I'd use my homemade almond chreese. Another recipe for blackberry stuffed flowers features maple sweetened tofutti. I can't quite imagine a sweet stuffed blossom tasting that great, since they are quite peppery. But maybe next year when my blackberry bush is ripe I'll try it out anyway.

Nasturtium & Grape salad seems like a good basic salad but with a yummy twist (the grapes). Here is an even simpler fruit salad featuring strawberries. I should have made this green bean and tarragon salad before my haricot verts gave up the ghost, since it would use them and some of the huge tarragon plant I've got but never know what to do with. Well, there's always next year.

Of course there is the ubiquitous nasturtium vinegar idea - that recipe looks better than most I've seen around the web. I'm not going to bother with a pickled nasturtium seed recipe, since there are so many on the web and I don't plan on doing it this year I don't think.

Then there's nasturtium lemon butter, or a jalapeno nasturtium aioli that sounds amazing! I'd have to try one of these vegan replacements for the egg, such as jarred mayo or cashews, tofu or maybe white beans.I also just came across this lovely PDF press release about 15 - 20 foot long nasturium vine displayed at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Apparently it takes them 10 months in the greenhouse to grow these vines, and they've been putting them on display for visitors since 1903. I would love to try one of those recipes, perhaps lavender nasturtium syrup. And now I must visit Boston in April!!

I really like this idea, "for a tangy alternative to chives, chop nasturtium leaves finely, and sprinkle them over a jacket potato. " Sounds easy and baked potatoes are a freqent favorite in my house, so this is definitely one to try.

I definitely need recipes for the leaves since there are soo many about to succumb to frost. This pesto looks interesting. Here's another idea: nasturium leaves wrapped around sundried tomato, flowers & basil almond chreese stuffing, tied with a chive.

Here's a recipe for Nasturtium potato soup that would use up a lot of leaves, although I have to say it doesn't look like it would be very tasty from the list of ingredients. Although this soup recipe from epicurious also seems rather plain - perhaps the nasturtiums add so much spicy flavor you don't need much else. This carrot and nasturtium soup looks a little more interesting, though I'd probably be too lazy to do carrots four ways for it. I guess the only thing left to do is try them and find out.

Now for something completely different: Nasturtium pizza or how about nasturtium tostadas? OOh! I could even make Emeril's nasturtium risotto for Food Network Fridays!

Of course my list of recipes wouldn't be complete without some nasturtium tea sandwiches. This one with cucmbers looks delicious.

Wow, there's even a recipe for nasturtium bitters! And a hair conditioner that uses dried flowers. Doubt I'll be that adventurous this year, but maybe some day...

Ok, now that I've officially gone nuts and compiled enough nasturtium recipes to last a lifetime, we'll just have to see what comes out of the kitchen over the next week.


melissa bastian. said...

Wow, those flowers are gorgeous! The colors are just drenched! And that you can eat them as well makes them even more supercool. Ah, how I hope one day to have some soil to call my own... beyond the little pots in my windowsills, of course, ha. :)

Mandee said...

I have some nasturtium growing at the moment, only yellow and orange though. I haven't tried any but I might add some to a salad.

I love the variety of colours you have growing!

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