Posts Tagged ‘Pam Corbin Preserves’

As I mentioned in our nasturtium pesto post a couple of weeks ago, we’ve been pickling nasturtium “capers”.  Based on a recipe from Pam Corbin’s Preserves, these are simple to process and, whilst they’re not really that similar to true capers, they do add a peppery crunch and tang to salads and sandwiches.

  • 15g salt
  • 100g nasturtium seed pods
  • peppercorns (optional)
  • bay leaves (optional)
  • 200ml white wine vinegar

1. Begin by picking nasturtium pods – below is 100 grams worth from our field of green..

2. Dissolve the salt in 300ml of warm water to make a light brine.  Allow to cool, then soak the cleaned seed pods in the brine for 24 hours.

3. Drain the pods and dry them well.  Pack them into small sterilised jars with a few peppercorns and a bayleaf (the original recipe suggested you could also use dill or tarragon sprigs, as preferred).  Leave a space for 1cm (about a pinky finger’s width) of vinegar at the top.

4. Fill the jars with vinegar and seal with acid-proof lids.  Store in a cool, dark place and allow to mature for a few weeks before using – Pam’s book advises that these should keep for up to a year.

One thing to note – the pods quickly lose their green colour in the vinegar.  The photo at the top shows the freshly jarred “capers” on the left, and two-day old ones on the right.

Pam suggests mixing these with mayonnaise, onion and lemon juice to make a nasturtium tartare sauce.  We’ve just been eating them in salads!

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In our winter garden, there really isn’t much growing at the moment.  The broadbeans are struggling, the seed potatoes still aren’t in the ground, and there are just four lonely apples on our young trees.

The nasturtiums, however, have really taken off! Planted around the base of the fruit trees as ground cover, they attract bees and brighten our day with a lovely sea of green every time we go outside.  We use their leaves and flowers in salads, they’re good greens for the chickens, and any excess becomes mulch for our fledgling vegetable beds.

Inspired by a recipe in Pam Corbin’s wonderful book Preserves, I gathered some nasturtium leaves and a sprig of mint from the garden…

…and blitzed them in the food processor with slivered almonds, a little grated pecorino cheese, half a clove of garlic and a few brined nasturtium pods.  This was all loosened with grapeseed oil and the juice of half a lime, then seasoned with Maldon salt and a little ground black pepper.

The pesto was delicious – tangy and green, with a lovely peppery note from the nasturtiums.  It was perfect on sourdough rye, and even better on Big Boy’s lunch of spinach and ricotta ravioli.  You can imagine how happy I am about this, given that we have a whole bed of nasturtiums growing faster than we or the chickens can eat them!

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