Edible flowering plant. The round scallopped leaves and punani-like flowers have a peppery taste similar to watercress or mild raddicchio.

Its trailing habit makes it perfect for hanging baskets or window boxes. Use for salads, open faced sandwiches, or as a garnish for toe cheese pate' served with crustades or baguette.

Also called the Peruvian Pepper plant, this hardy annual comes in the dwarf, trailing, and climbing varieties, and exhibits pink, yellow, red, and bright orange blossoms. The stems, leaves, flowers, and pods are edible, exhibiting a sweet, pungent taste somewhat akin to yellow mustard and cress. The immature seed pods are good candidates for pickling, and end up resembling capers when the process is complete.

Nasturtiums are an excellent and attractive low-cost soil testing technique. When planted in fertile, nutrient-rich ground, they produce few flowers and many leaves. When placed in poor, lackluster dirt, they produce dozens upon dozens of flowers. Watering should be conducted once or twice a week.

All parts of the nasturtium are high in oxalic acid, meaning it has the potential to upset the stomach if eaten too much. One salad a week, or about a dozen nasturtium quesadillas are likely safe. Making wine or distilling the essence is reportedly hazardous - stomach problems associated with too much acid in the gut can happen.



Reference:

The Old Farmer’s Almanac
Various kitchen experiments with nasturtium parts.

Nas*tur"tium (?), n. [L. nasturtium, for nasitortium, fr. nasus nose + torquere, tortum, to twist, torture, in allusion to the causing one to make a wry face by its pungent taste. See Nose of the face, and Torture.]

1. Bot.

A genus of cruciferous plants, having white or yellowish flowers, including several species of cress. They are found chiefly in wet or damp grounds, and have a pungent biting taste.

2. Bot.

Any plant of the genus Tropaeolum, geraniaceous herbs, having mostly climbing stems, peltate leaves, and spurred flowers, and including the common Indian cress (Tropaeolum majus), the canary-bird flower (T. peregrinum), and about thirty more species, all natives of South America. The whole plant has a warm pungent flavor, and the fleshy fruits are used as a substitute for capers, while the leaves and flowers are sometimes used in salads.

E2 Ed. note: Apparently Webster erred here, see Nasturtian for an explanation.

 

© Webster 1913.

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