This week’s installment of the Omnivore 100, a list of foods all omnivores should try at least once.
The Omnivore 100 list entry #88 is kind of cryptic. “Flowers.” Which gave me pause- some flowers are quite toxic. And I don’t know about you, but rose-infused anything just tastes like a grandmother’s perfume to me. (Imagine my disappointment when I tried Turkish Delight, the thing Edmund sold out the other Pevensie children for, only to discover that it tasted like an old lady. Bleh.) So this week, I’m going to talk Nasturtiums.
I first tried Nasturtium flowers at the Courthouse Farmers Market, when one of the many vegetable/tomato purveyors was selling small bags of them and offering samples. I was hesitant, remembering my horrible experience with Turkish Delight, but to my very great surprise, the petals tasted peppery, like a strong arugula. And they’re prettier than arugula, so if you’re trying to impress someone with a nice meal, Nasturtium blossoms in the salad are a good place to start.
This isn’t the kind of thing you can find regularly at Whole Foods. You can frequently find them at farmers markets in the area, but it’s sort of an unpredictable thing since they aren’t exactly a crop you can pay your mortgage with. So if you’re looking to try them, you have to keep a sharp eye out so you don’t miss them.
Or you can grow them yourself- common Nasturtium varieties are pretty hardy and don’t require a lot of specialized care. Picking the flowers makes the plant bloom more, so you can have flowers in your salad all summer. They also repel certain kinds of pests, so they’re a good low-maintenance addition to your vegetable garden.