Today, Jude at Travel Words wants to see examples of edible orange. And just in case you think that only the bumble bees are enjoying my allotment nasturtiums, I have to confess I’ve lately been chomping the flowers whenever I go gardening. At the moment there’s a huge flock of them on the bed where I had broad beans earlier this summer. I’ve no idea how they got there (interspersed with pot marigolds) but they are making a colourful show, and their late arrival (seasonally speaking) means they have escaped depredations from cabbage white caterpillars and aphids.
The flowers are crisp, cool and peppery, and excellent added to salads along with their leaves. The seed heads are also edible, but due to their stronger flavour are perhaps better pickled than eaten ‘neat’.
The garden nasturtium has been much studied for medicinal benefits, and you can see some of the findings in the research paper HERE. This is a quote from the abstract:
The flowers and other parts of the garden nasturtium are a good source of micro elements such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium, and macro elements, especially of zinc, copper and iron. The essential oil, the extract from the flowers and leaves, and the compounds isolated from these elements have antimicrobial, antifungal, hypotensive, expectorant and anticancer effects. Antioxidant activity of extracts from garden nasturtium is an effect of its high content of compounds such as anthocyanins, polyphenols and vitamin C.
I shall thus keep chomping until the frost finishes the present crop. Meanwhile, too, the flowers are still available for any late-hibernating bee in need of a pollen fix.