There are many edible flowers, however this perennial is probably the most popular. Nasturtium means "nose twist" in latin, probably for it's strong, peppery flavor. It's flavor, beauty, nutritional pop, and ease of growing, make it very popular. Although Nasturtium come in many colors (pastels, too), the yellow and orange varieties seem to be planted the most.
Why am I talking about a perennial in December? Well, I have the great fortune to be in a fall CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where these delicious flowers are grown year round "to bring color and light to [the] farm during the shortest and darkest days," says Baylee Drown of Upper Pond Farm and New Mercies Farm in Lyme, CT. If you are one of those people affected by the change of season and lose your energy and crave lots of carbs this time of year, how and what you light your home and workspace with, how and what you place in those environments, and what you feed your body, really has an impact on energy and cravings. If you read my blog each week, you've heard me mention Seasonal Affective Disorder in almost every blog since early October. You don't have to have SAD to be affected by the change in light and temperature. It is a natural change that occurs with plant, animal, and all of us. Eating in season, preferably local and organic, will support your body, mind, and spirit. Making your environment aesthetically pleasing will help year round to support your mind and spirit, but especially this time of year when many of us need it. Food should be pretty. Your eyes should see a beautiful presentation of food that registers a WOW with the brain. This of course begins the digestive process as you salivate and the stomach acids begin to flow. I could go on and on. It's all connected!!! Flowers make a yard, a home, an event, an old discarded porcelain sink turned flower pot, into a thing of beauty. Decorating our pastas, platters, and other foods with Nasturtium will not only add that perfect aesthetic touch, but will boost the nutrition of that meal as well.
Both the Nasturtium flowers and leaves are nutritious. They flowers are high in vitamins A and C and iron. They flowers also help neutralize the free radicals running around in our bodies trying to grow cancer, etc. The leaves are high in vitamin C, and have an antibiotic property, best when picked prior to the plant flowering.
Store unwashed in a glass jar with a glass lid if possible. Blossoms can last up to a week, but check daily and remove any wilting flowers.
Gently hand wash flowers when ready to use; a salad spinner is not a great idea unless you are washing the leaves. You can use the flowers whole or pick the petals and discard the stem. Add them to salads or any of your dishes, or use them as an edible garnish. They should be the last thing you add to a dish unless the recipe says otherwise, i.e., if you are adding them to a salad, add the dressing, toss, then decorate with flowers.
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NOTE: IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY NEW EATING OR EXERCISE PROGRAM. THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION.
THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.