Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. A day for lovers of all kinds. If you’ve done it right, your waistline is a little bit wider and your wallet is a little bit lighter. Part of the day after should be something light, something great and something that helps cut through all the richness from the day of indulgence that Valentine’s Day represents.
Nasturtiums are the answer. Many of you probably already know that the flowers are edible. They have a sharp, peppery taste which adds a little bit of goodness to any dish. Not only do they make salads beautiful and colorful, they add a peppery layer that black peppercorns just can’t add. But did you know that you can whip those flowers up into a butter? Nasturtium butter adds a floral, pepper flavor to toast, scones and anything else slathered with this rainbow-y goodness.
But the real gems are the seeds. I’m not sure if you’re a caper lover like me, but nasturtium seeds can be turned into awesome almost capers. These have been dubbed poor man’s capers. The great thing is that nasturtiums grow abundantly. And if you’ve seeded them in the proper place, you will have flowers coming back year after year. Which means you will have nasturtium capers every year as well.
2/3 cup nasturtium seed pods, cleaned
1/4 cup salt
2 cups water
2/3 cup distilled white vinegar (5% acidity at least)
1 tsp- 2 tbsp sugar
optional ingredients (pick 2 at least):
tarragon or other fresh herbs
red pepper flakes
Divide nasturtium seeds into half pint jars. Add optional ingredients to the half pint jars. They can be different. In fact, you should try out different flavor combinations to see which you like best. Dissolve salt and sugar in the water. Add vinegar and bring to a slight simmer. Pour over seeds, seal and store. There’s a lot of mustard oil in the seeds. So they might be too strong for some people at this point. If you find that they are too much for you, an extra processing step might be needed.
If you find the seeds to be too strong even with a good vinegar brine, seperately salt brine them first. Use the salt and water to create a salt brine and soak seeds for 2-3 days in one large quart jar. Drain and rinse seeds several times and divide into pint jars. Then make the sugar/vinegar brine and pour over seeds in half pint jars- don’t add more salt at this juncture or the seeds could become too salty. At this point, add in the optional ingredients and the sugar/vinegar brine. Process either by refrigerating or hot water bath.
These will keep forever. Well, not literally forever. But a really long time. So the next time, you’ve eaten too much or partied too hard, the next day use the vinegar-y goodness of nasturtium seeds to cut through all that bulls..shtuff.