nasturtiums – a tea, a pesto and a cure

31st August 2014


How I love this plant. They are such a visual treat.  Especially when my neglected garden is looking somewhat sad in abundance, there are always nasturtiums gracefully filling in the bare spaces to a sparse garden.  They are their own abundant gift!  Neglect is their most valued possession. They go about their own business, trailing through our poor soil and semi-shaded positions, cascading edible bright yellow, orange, and rust-red flowers as they go.  They even self-seed and surprise us in all sorts of places you would least expect.  I add their peppery leaves and colourful flowers to salads, and their leaves to green smoothies when greens are very few and far between.  For the tastiest nasturtium leaves, keep them well-watered, which helps to moderate the spiciness of the leaves and flowers. They make wonderful garlands and colourful decorations on and around birthday cakes.

The flowers were a favourite of the Victorians, and in the language of flowers, they stand for patriotism and fatherly love.

Nasturtiums secrete a mustard oil which insects find attractive and they will seek them out in preference to any cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kohlrabi and turnips growing nearby.  It is wonderful to have them wander between crops to act as a decoy for insects and as a flavour- improving agent, however, slugs, as I have found, enjoy hiding beneath the shade of their broad leaves.  If you graze or scratch yourself while working in the garden, smearing a bruised leaf over the area will aid in swift healing.

Nasturtiums have a high concentration of vitamin C, iron and other minerals, and are also a natural antibiotic. The gentle antibiotic reaction makes it ideal for treating minor colds and flu.  Eating a couple of leaves a day is said to help clear up acne.  Apparently, it is great for the hair, as nasturtium tea applied to the head scalp, increases circulation and hair growth.  It is also a great toner for oily skin.

Chewing the leaves is a good way to disinfect one’s mouth.  They’re a means for boosting appetite and stimulating digestion.

nasturtium tea


1 cup nasturtium flowers

1-litre boiling water


1.  Place the flowers, leaves and buds in the boiling water in a jug.

2.  Cover and allow to brew for 15 mins. Strain and drink or use a hair rinse or toner this is also a great spray over plants to protect them against unwanted bugs.

nasturtium pesto

Makes 1 cup


2 cups packed nasturtium leaves

1 cup packed nasturtium flowers

¾ cup cold-pressed organic olive oil

¾ cup lightly toasted walnuts

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

pinch of salt


1.  Pick a basket of fresh leaves and flowers without any blemishes.  If you are light on of the flowers, then leaves only are just fine.

2.  Thoroughly wash and dry the leaves and flowers; tear larger leaves in half.

3.  Place the leaves, flowers, lightly toasted and cooled walnuts, olive oil, salt and parmesan into a blender or food processor – blend until smooth.

4.  Ladle into a jar and drizzle over olive oil to prevent browning.


References :

Goodness shared from Stacey

dill & parsley pesto

8th November 2009


Shopping for food can tell a lot about someone, from their spending habits, interests, family situation, health, etc.  I love nothing better than trawling through shopping aisles, delis, food shops waiting for new, exciting ingredients to pop out at me, or purchasing that ‘extra’ jar/bottle just in case I feel like making a particular dish.  I start out with a list, but invariably I am always ‘tempted’  by specials or some new, interesting ingredient.  I also do not plan my meals for the week.  What I cook depends solely on what I feel like that day, or it might be a particular new dish or ingredient I want to try.  Unfortunately, this habit also brings with it a very packed fridge, freezer and pantry, and then the ‘use-by’ date factor, which always leads to the wastage.

So, in the interests of saving money, time and the all-important catch-phrase of the moment – sustainable environment, I have decided to make do with what I have accumulated and what’s available in the garden, before making any unnecessary new purchases.

This brought me to today’s decision of ‘pesto’.  I had a favourite ‘fresh basil pesto’ that I would buy and stock a few tubs in my freezer, but, sadly I can no longer find this particular brand.  Rather than experimenting with new ready-made varieties which are quite expensive, compared to the cost of growing your own herbs, I decided to make my own, using herbs available in the garden.   Basil pesto – I could eliminate as I recently disposed of my plants due to woodiness and flowering.  Years ago, I discovered a dill and parsley version, which is also no longer available, so I decided to revisit this combo.  Very good with pasta, roasted kiphler potatoes or an assortment of roasted vegetables!  Any leftover, store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer.


dill & parsley pesto


1 cup continental parsley, stalks removed, leaves only

½ cup fresh dill

2 Tbsp grated fresh parmesan cheese

¼ cup extra virgin cold pressed olive oil

2 Tbsp pine nuts

salt and pepper


1.  Add all ingredients to a food processor (I use a mini one) and process until combined and all dry ingredients are of a similar texture.  Add more oil if too dry.

2.  Serve tossed through pasta and roasted vegetables (beetroot, cherry tomatoes and pumpkin are a lovely mixture).  It is also perfect for vegetable lasagna.

Goodness shared from Donna

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