Thursday, July 12, 2007


I never tire of the novelty of eating flowers. Nasturtiums are such a treat. Their radish-like flavor gives your summer salads and chilled soups a hint of peppery heat.

Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) will scramble along the ground or climb a trellis. The tiger-faced flowers come in ruby red, orange, yellow, and white.
I grew the scrambler Alaska Mix for the green and white variegated leaves as requested by my husband Eldon (he hopes to use the leaves for Thanksgiving--stay tuned!). The Canary Creeper (Tropaeolum peregrinum) offers frilly yellow flowers and deeply lobed leaves.

Last weekend, I made watermelon gazpacho--each serving topped with a bright yellow nasturtium. Here is the recipe as adapted from Elizabeth Germain in Natural Health magazine. It is best made the morning or one full day before serving.

One individual-sized watermelon (3 lbs)
3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice (about 2 small limes)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
1 cucumber, seeds removed and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
1/3 small red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 jalapeño, seeds removed and minced
Combined or alone, 1/4 cup chopped herbs of your choice: basil, mint, Italian parsley, cilantro, cutting celery.

Combine watermelon, lime juice, olive oil, and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add salt if necessary and blend thoroughly. Transfer to a larger bowl. Add cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, garlic, jalapeño, and mix together. Chill until ready to serve. Stir in herbs before serving. Garnish each serving with a nasturtium flower*.

*It's best to eat flowers that have not been treated with synthetic pesticides.

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