Sunday, 22 March 2009

Nasturtium - Many Reasons To Grow It

Tropaeolum majusImage via Wikipedia

Nasturtium has always been in every garden I have the pleasure to have in the UK. I have know for a long time that the this herb can be used in salads are great as a caretaker for other crops. Added to this, they are very pretty. So this herb gives many benefits to the garden and the cooking world.

Nasturtium literally means 'nose-twister'. There eighty different species of both annual and perennial herbaceous flowering plants. They always have a show of bright flowers with rounded almost shield-shaped leaves. The flowers have five or more petals with a funnel-shaped tube in the back where the nectar is stored.

Nasturtiums like direct or indirect sunlight for most varieties although there are a few that preferer partial shade. Once established they don't need much maintainance and make good ground coverage so not much weeding.

The Nasturtium produce an oil that is very similar to watercress. All parts of the plant are edible, with flower great for ornamental salads. The taste is slightly peppery, again quite like watercress. It can also be used in stir fry dishes. Even the unripened seed pods can be picked and pickled in vinegar producing a good condiment element and garnish with again a strongly peppery taste.

Nasturtiums are also used to repel a great many pests, such as the squash bug, cucumber beetles and several variaties of caterpillars. If planted next to broccoli or cauliflower they will attract black fly aphids away from them saving the crops. As well the will also attract beneficial insects that pollenate.

I have yet to grow nasturtuim in Bulgaria, but I've seen them around and is on the list of wants for my farm here.

Finally, there are a great recipes for using nasturtium, here is one for Nasturtium Vinegar taken from:

Nasturtium Vinegar

This vinegar is always one of my most popular gifts.everyone loves how attractive the vinegar is with a wide range of different colored nasturtium blossoms included. The finished vinegar has a nice peppery bite and makes an excellent ingredient to use in salad dressings, sauces, and other dishes.

1 cup nasturtium leaves, flowers, and buds

1 pint champagne, white wine, or apple cider vinegar

Place the ingredients in a clean clear glass jar or bottle. Tightly seal. Let sit for at least 3 weeks before using. The nasturtium can remain in for decoration, but you should make sure the vinegar always covers the flowers or they will mold. Makes 1 pint vinegar.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

If you want more great nasturium recipes just go into this site:

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