Nasturtium Leaves

Nasturtium plants are famed for their beauty, versatility and their wonderful peppery flavor. Nasturtium leaves are used to flavor a variety of salads and other dishes and provide a spicy zest that you simply cannot get with many other herbs. The leaves and flowers of the plant are completely edible as well as the seeds. They grow very easily and can thrive in even the most neglected of situations. They are an annual species although there are a few varieties that are perennials and will reseed themselves every year. Choosing which species to grow will depend on your preferences. They are available in bush, climbing and dwarf varieties and come in a wide range of beautiful pastels and vibrant colors.

Cooking with the Leaves

Cooking with nasturtium leaves gives you the opportunity to add flavor to your dishes that is spicy and well-rounded. The leaves have been used to create wonderful butter spreads and pesto's and can even be stuffed like grape leaves for an appetizer that is filled with flavor. The recipe provides enough filling to stuff approximately 25 leaves. To make this recipe you simply need nasturtium leaves that have been washed and dried, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. The filling includes 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a finely chopped medium sized onion, short grain rice, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, currants and pine nuts and flavorings such as cinnamon, parsley, dried mint, cloves and allspice as well as salt and pepper. You simply sauté the onion until soft and then add the remaining ingredients for the filling, cooking until hot. The leaves are then stuffed with the filling mixture. Add the lemon juice and olive oil to a pot and then add your stuffed nasturtium leaves. Add enough boiling water to cover the leaves and allow to cook for about an hour or so, until all water has been absorbed.

Nasturtium Growing

The leaves of the nasturtium are fairly large and are a beautiful bluish green in color. If you want to grow these plants simply for nasturtium leaves then you can plant them virtually anywhere. However, if you also want to enjoy the beautiful burst of color from the blooms then it is important that you plant the seeds in dry soil and take care not to over water them. You should also avoid using fertilizer or other plant foods as this causes the blooms to be not quite as abundant and will simply give you more leaves than flowers.

Where to Purchase

You may find that you can purchase nasturtium leaves at a variety of health food stores, although growing them is very easy. Many prefer to simply grow their own at home. You will find many online and offline gardening centers that offer the seeds and smaller plants for sale. Seed packets are very inexpensive, costing only about $3 or so for an entire packet. Plants will be a bit more expensive although they are still considered to be fairly cheap. You can typically purchase a plant for around $5 at most gardening stores.

Nasturtium Leaves