Nasturtiums for culinary and medicinal uses
Grasonville, MD – Thursday morning – Nasturtiums are beautiful flowering plants that add lots of color to any garden, they are a great edible flower but did you know that they have great medicinal qualities?
I have always grown my own nasturtiums to use for edible flower recipes and they make a great garnish. Nasturtiums have a peppery taste which is similar to watercress. Nasturtium vinegar is great to make using nasturtium flowers, vinegar and a few pepper corns. Just place about 12 rinsed and dried nasturtium flowers in a glass jar with a screw-on lid, and add 1 cup of white wine vinegar. If your lid is metal, be sure to line it with plastic wrap. Let flowers steep for 1 – 3 weeks. Strain and re-bottle in pretty decorative bottle.This vinegar is a beautiful shrimp or salmon colored vinegar and is great to make as gifts for friends and neighbors.
The leaves, stems and flowers of the nasturtium plant are edible. The seeds of this plant can be used as an inexpensive substitute for capers by putting them in a vinegar, sugar and salt blend and steep for 3 weeks. You can add the leaves to salads, egg dishes, cheeses, sorbets and custards. You can chop the flowers and add them to risotto or to olive oil for a topping for pasta.
Okay, those are some of the culinary uses in your kitchen. Now to get to the medicinal uses of nasturtiums – they are disinfectant, antibiotic, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti- bacterial. Nasturtiums are good to use for infections, flu, to stimulate appetite, digestive upsets that stem from overgrowth of yeast or from parasites. Nasturtiums have a mustard-oil compound that are responsible for the above medicinal uses.
The only caution is to use in moderation as large quantities could irritate the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. Always remember to use the recommended quantities in any herb that you use. More is never better! >>Candace