Nasturtium Powder

Around this time of year Nasturtium becomes a kind of massive monocrop in our yard. We’re always trying to figure out uses for it. Of course it does well in salads, both the greens and the flowers, and we’ve made capers of the pods. Also, the flowers make a particularly beautiful pesto. But this year, inspired by the culinary experiments of forager Pascal Baudar and his partner Mia Wasilevich (friend them in Facebook if you want a daily dose of foraging greatness) I decided to make a nasturtium powder. It’s simple:

  1. Dry the leaves. Here’s a fast way: take a bunch of nasturtium leaves and spread them in a single layer between two paper towels. Microwave for two minutes.  Or use more conventional methods. Just don’t let them get so dry they lose color. (Important note from Mrs. Homegrown: Careful with this microwave trick! It’s a new one for us. It worked perfectly for Erik when he dried a whole bunch of leaves, but today I tried to dry just one leaf, a celery leaf, as an experiment and it burst into flame after about 30 seconds. Scary!!!!! We think it success has to do with mass and moisture: lots of leaves, not just one.)
  2. Put the dried leaves in a spice mill or coffee grinder and pulse until ground.

Think of nasturtium dust as a kind of zombie apocalypse pepper replacement. Or as a salad dressing ingredient. It is surprisingly tasty–better than fresh nasturtium, and without that bite. It would be fantastic combined with a little good salt. We’re still trying to figure out exactly how to use this magic powder. We may just keep it on the table and sprinkle it on everything.

What do you like to use nasturtium for?

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20 Comments

  1. I use nasturtium for all the usual things- capers, vinegar etc but I’m intrigued by the powder. We won’t have any leaves for a few months; I’m going to have to make sure I remember this!

  2. If it’s better dry then fresh, than why not doing some chips with it ? Like with kale ? A bit of olive oil, a pinch of salt…

  3. How about putting it in a tea ball and brewing it? I like your impulse to play out different scenarios with a plant you have a lot of.

    • I thought about trying it as a tea–maybe mixed with some other herbs. And hope you are doing well H2–say hello to Chicago for me.

  4. Sounds like a good way to make your own furikake. Furikake is the salty mix of bits of nori, sesame seeds, and other savory bits to be sprinkled over rice. If you decide to go this route, use Japanese sesame seeds as they are drier, not as oily.

    • Funny you should mention this. Kelly zapped a single leaf of parsley yesterday and managed to catch it on fire. I think the issue was not having enough items in the microwave at once.

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  6. Well, I was googling if it was possible to dry nasturtium leaves as it is apparently a source of extremely doses of vit. C and I wanted to have some for winter too. One could take a spoonful of powder or brew a tea to try for the taste. I read that nasturtium was used to treat scurvy with once sailors came back on land! (perhaps they took dried leaves with them?)

    • I did not know that!! I love sailor and scurvy stories–for some odd reason–but I’d not heard about them using nasturtium. Here in LA we have fruit all winter, so vit. C is not such a pressing need, but my inner survivalist likes the idea of putting up a powder store.

      As an aside, it might be interesting to use nasturtium and other herb powders to try to make a powdered soup stock.

      –Kelly, using Erik’s ID

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