Although nasturtium blooms look like they are made of parchment paper, fragile and delicate, they are surprisingly durable.
Their taste is spicy and that's where their common name comes from: "Nasus Tortus" (sounds like "tortured nose" to me... :) - means convulsed nose, referring to the faces people made when tasting this surprisingly tangy-flavored plant.
Ways to take advantage of Nasturtium's flavor and decorative color:
- as garnishes their blossoms look vibrant and last long
- whole or chopped blooms look great as decoration in creamy soups, salads, butters, cakes, platters, appetizer etc.
- blooms added to the spinach salad create quite a dramatic effect
- nasturtium, added to cheese spreads is a winning combo
- add them to tea sandwiches
- an idea for stunning look: open-faced cucumber sandwiches on white bread, decorated with orange nasturtium blossoms and violets
- recipe for a zesty herbal vinegar: use five blossoms per cup of vinegar, place them in decorative bottle, cover them with hot (not boiling!) white wine vinegar for a day, then strain the spent flowers out and add fresh one as decoration
- stuffed Nasturtium blooms make a sensational, tasty hors d'ouvere: guacamole, chicken salad, egg salad and seasoned cream cheese mixtures all work well for that purpose - as long as their ingredients are really finely chopped to fit in the tiny throat of the flower
- for tea-time or snack-time treat wrap blossom around a mixture of raisins, walnuts and orange peel in cream cheese
- Nasturtium buds and green seeds can be pickled and used in place of capers
Note that nasturtiums will grow in partial shade and produce lush foliage but not too many blooms. In full sun they produce the most blooms and their peppery flavor gets stronger and stronger as the summer sun gets hotter. For a milder taste therefore, choose flowers grown in shade or semi-shade.