It’s a strange thing perhaps, but I take a completely different approach to styling in my home and garden. Indoors, I’m all about cool greys, natural materials and sophisticated bohemian touches. In my garden however, I love the beds to be filled with a riot of colour… big, blowsy blooms jostling for space in the billowing borders. Earlier this year I planted nasturtiums all around the edge of the patio and I love how their trailing stems and hot-house colours shout for attention. Now, as the flowers begin to fade and the seeds form, I decided to try making pickled nasturtium seeds, also known as ‘poor man’s capers’ to preserve my humble harvest.
Nasturtium pods have a powerful peppery flavour and are a little too strong to eat raw. But, pickled in slightly sweetened vinegar, they are transformed into delicious green jewels that can be used just as you would conventional capers… add them to homemade pizzas and pasta dishes or use them to jazz up chicken or fish, grilled with a little butter and a grating of lemon zest.
Pickled nasturium seeds (poor man’s capers) are very easy to make, just plan ahead as the seeds need to be soaked in brine before you begin. This recipe will make one standard sized jam jar… simply scale the recipe up or down depending on the number of seeds you are able to gather.
- 200g fresh nasturtium pods
- 1 heaped tbsp salt
- 200ml white pickling vinegar
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- Rinse the nasturtium seeds in cold water to remove any dirt. Place the seeds in a bowl and cover with cold water. Add the salt and stir to dissolve. Allow to sit at room temperature for 48 hours. This process mellows the hot peppery flavour.
- Wash the seeds in cold water to remove the salt then pack into a sterilised glass jar.
- Put the vinegar and sugar into a saucepan, bring the liquid to a low boil stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Carefully pour the vinegar over the nasturtium seeds, ensuring all the seeds are completely covered. Add the bay leaf.
- Allow to cool before screwing on the lids. Pickled nasturtium seeds will keep for up to 6 months in the fridge.
[Photographs: all © Decorator’s Notebook]