NASTURTIUM and Pink Peppercorn Vinegar

This was another early fall project. Nasturtium is very frost sensitive. I have come across all kinds of recipes that use this plant. I love the flowers in my peach salad. The leaves can be used to make “cabbage rolls” and pesto. This vinegar might appear to be culinary but it is actually meant to be more medicinal, even if you add it to some quality olive oil to make a dressing. I love the ruby red color. I added some pink peppercorns to bring out the “spicy” taste of the leaves even more. Some medicine is allowed to taste good.

Nasturtium vinegar recipe

Pack a pint jar full of nasturtium leaves and flowers. If your plant is an infrequent bloomer you can add the blossoms as they appear until you have a decent amount. Add 1 tsp of whole pink peppercorns. Fill jar with apple cider vinegar. Make sure all plant parts are covered. If you are using a metal lid, place some plastic wrap between it and the liquid to avoid rusting/chemical reaction. Let sit 4 weeks. Strain and bottle. Store in a cool, dark place. The vinegar can be used in sauces and marinades. The fruit when still green/unripe make excellent pickled capers.

Nasturtium is an annual plant that is cultivated all over the world. Comes in both bush and trailing varieties. Thin, succulent , branching ,stems can grow at long as 10 feet. Leaves can be various sizes depending on the cultivar. These are alternate, round, radially veinated/palmately lobed with slightly scalloped or ruffled edges. Flowers come in shades of red, orange and yellow. These are set on the ends of long stalks in the axis of leaves. Each is funnel shaped with a frilly/clawed interior. There are five sepals/petals, with the topmost ending in a nectar spur. The “naked” fruit is a 1 -2cm, round, green ball that has 3 segments. Each of these contains a seed.

This plant has strong expectorant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and disinfecting properties. Its peppery, mustard like compounds clear the lungs, sinuses and other respiratory passages. It increases circulation to the organs and tissues. Its warming action will clear cold and damp. Herbalists have used this plant to treat persistent or secondary infections of all kinds. Nasturtium has a history of treating chest colds, flu, bronchitis, sinus infections, middle ear infections, muscle pain, cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, obesity, urinary tract/kidney infection, constipation, wounds, blisters, acne, edema, arthritis, yeast infections, athletes foot, and hair loss, This herb is thought to be helpful in the formation of red blood cells. It can be taken daily without disputing gut flora or creating anti-biotic resistance. Nasturtium is high in vitamin C.

Latin Name: Tropaeolum majus

Botanical family: Tropaeolaceae or Braassicaseae (cabbage)

Parts Used: flowers, leaves, fruit

Energetics: warming, pungent

Spiritual and Emotional Uses: to bring balance , warmth, vitality, and creativity back into one’s life. Supports increased energy, rejuvenation, and reconnection to the heart or nature.

Contraindications: Should not be used by those with kidney disease or ulcers. The plant contains “mustard oil” which can irritate the skin of sensitive individuals.

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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