Nasturtium pods, also called seeds or buds, are hot like peppers when they are mature, green and plump. They also make an incredible pickled condiment that is considered better than capers in many sauces and salads. I’m looking forward to using them in an old favorite capanata spread recipe that relies on capers for its distinctive flavor. Nasturtium pods will initially release a sulphurous odor when brined, but the resulting flavor is outstanding. Heirloom Nasturtiums are very prolific and fairly hardy.
Here is a family recipe that has its roots in Eliza Smith’s 1727 cookbook, The Compleat Housewife. It comes to us from the excellent book The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich.
Pickling salt is -simply put- fine, pure granulated salt. Grocery stores label it “canning and pickling salt”, health food stores call it “sea salt”. It is not table salt, which contains iodine and several other stabilizers and anti-caking agents that can ruin your pickles appearance.
Pickled Nasturtium Pods
- 4 1/2 Tbs pickling salt
- 3 Cups water
- 1 Pint fresh, green and plump nasturtium pods
- 4 Whole cloves
- 1 Pinch unground mace
- 1/4 Nutmeg kernel
- 1 Slice of horseradish, about 1 1/4 inches diameter and 3/8 inch thick, cut into thin strips
- 1 Shallot or large green onion
- 1 Cup white wine vinegar
- Dissolve 1 1/2 Tbs salt in 1 cup water, and then pour brine over nasturtium pods. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Drain, make fresh brine as above and repeat. Repeat again for a third time. This initial process will take 3 days, each day needing about 5 minutes of your time.
- On the fourth day, drain the pods and put them in a jar with cloves, mace, nutmeg, horseradish and shallot.
- Cover well with vinegar, cover jar tightly and let stand at room temperature for at least a week.
- After opening jar, store in refrigerator.
Give these a try and let us know what you think, or if you already use them in some special recipes, please share them with us!