Have you ever had nasturtium capers? We traded some elderflower cordial for a jar of these homemade pickles at a recent food swap and they're absolutely delicious! We have enjoyed the nasturtium plant's peppery green leaves and yellow-orange flowers before, but this is our first time eating the seed pods. The "capers" were made by our friend Heather Parlato, who writes for LAist, where she describes nasturtiums as "infinitely edible" and "very garden-friendly ... thriving in poor soil with little water and lots of sun." Here in Los Angeles, nasturtiums grow like weeds across gardens and hillsides, making them an easy and economical food source.
Sometimes referred to as "poor man's capers," the seeds can be pickled in a brine of vinegar and spices; Heather used peppercorns, mustard seeds, bay leaves, and thyme. Their tangy flavor is quite similar to genuine capers, and they're delightfully crunchy. We've been eating them in salads and pasta and might even try frying them!
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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