Monday, July 5, 2010

Nasturtiums are not just for salads

I’m growing Nasturtium 'Spitfire' for the Garden Bloggers Grow Project. (Thanks to Renee's Garden for the seeds.)

I had thought to grow them up my trellis, but you have to train them since they aren't really climbers--they need to be tied, and the stems keep breaking, because they want to trail. Fortunately, I also planted some along the high edge of one of my vegetable beds, so I'll let them just trail there, and maybe tie a few up the smaller plant stand that they are under.

The ones on the gate and back by my fence are small-too shady for these, but the latest planted-under a plant stand- seem to be thriving.

Nasturtiums, of course, are not just a beautiful flower. They are also a garden beneficial, attracting aphids away from more desirable plants like tomatoes, and are also edible. I often pop a nasturtium flower in my mouth when I'm working outside, for the quick delicious peppery taste, and for a little water.

Recently,the blog came up with the wonderful idea of nasturtium dolma. My leaves were not quite large enough (you need palm-sized leaves to be able to roll them), but I made this layered casserole.

Nasturtium Dolma
1 1/2 cups cooked pearl barley
1 small summer squash, diced
1/4 cup pine nuts
small onion, diced
mushroom (any type), diced
cardamom, garam masala, sea salt, black pepper to taste

Stir fry the vegetables and nuts in a little sesame oil; add the spices and continue to saute until the veggies are coated with the oil and spices. Add the cooked barley and saute another 5 minutes or so, until it's all hot and mixed.

Lay out several nasturtium leaves and lay a spoonful of filling on each, then fold and place them side by side in a loaf pan so that the edges of the leaves hold each other up like little envelopes. You don't need to brine or pre-cook the leaves; laying the hot filling on them cooks them slightly, making them a little easier to handle.

Bake at 300F/145C for 20 minutes. Serve with yogurt-cucumber sauce.

(Warning- they fall apart, but are delicious)


  1. Nom nom nom, that sounds really good. One of my three nasties is a climber, all by itself, up the trellis. Overall, though, yeah, best not to force them! :)

  2. That looks and sounds like a delicious dish Xan!

  3. They don't really need to be tied to grow up. You can twine them or guide them up without any need to tie them to anything, in my experience from growing 'moonlight' last year. Recipe looks tasty though.

  4. I've been trying to train them up, but they keep untwining and flopping over. Tried feeding them through the fence, but they break. Still trying though!