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This item was last sold on : 01/21/17
Nasturtium leaves look like small lily pads: bright green, round, with a central stem. They range in size from a few inches in diameter to six or 7 inches around. The plants themselves are flowering trailing vines with yellow, orange and magenta blooms. The name “Nasturtium” comes from the Latin words for nose (nas), and tortum (twist); essentially “twisted nose”. It was named for the reaction on a person’s face after biting into the peppery, bittersweet leaves. The richer the soil, the more bite in the leaves.
Nasturtium leaves are available from the spring and early summer months through the early months of fall.
Nasturtiums are considered a cress; they produce an oil that has a flavor profile similar to that of a watercress. However, Nasturtiums are not in the Mustard family, like watercress. Nasturtiums are in a genus all their own (Tropaeolum).
The leaves of the Nasturtium can be used in a variety of ways: as a spicy addition to salads, as the base for pesto, or chopped and combined with softened cheeses for spreads. The leaves can be used as beds for chicken salad or fish, and used as garnish atop savory muffins and potato salad. Stuff Nasturtium leaves with rice and herbs for a take on Greek dolmas. Add fresh leaves and blossoms to a vinegar solution, with a clove of garlic and allow to sit for four to five weeks for a peppery, pungent vinegar for salad dressings. Due to the fragility of the leaves and the aroma, Nasturtium leaves and other cresses cannot be dried.
Nasturtium has long been used throughout the Andes as an herbal expectorant for chest congestion, a remedy for wounds, and as a peppery pest repellant. The leaves can be used as a disinfectant, a diuretic and antiseptic. According to Jesuit missionaries, the Incas used Nasturtium as a medicinal herb and as an addition to salads.
Nasturtium varieties today are descendent of two species native to Peru on the Western coast of South America. These species found their way to Europe via Spanish conquistadors. The long trailing vines of today were developed by a Danish botanist from the small plants brought to Europe. The popularity of Nasturtiums as ornamental plant in Europe may have been spurred by the appearance of the twisting vines in the palace flowerbeds of King Louis XIV. Nasturtiums were seen in the US as early as 1759 and were planted in the gardens of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. They grow freely in California, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Hawaii as well as throughout Europe and parts of South America.
Recipes that include Nasturtium Leaves. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Eat Weeds||Stuffed Nasturtium Leaves|
|Pick Me Yard||Nasturtium Salad Dressing|
|Hitchhiking to Heaven||Nasturtium Pesto|
|Cook Sister||Nasturtium Leaf Salad|
|Love Fed||Creamy Coconut and Nasturtium Soup|
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