I made it just in time. A couple of days ago the nasturtiums were in full bloom, a wave of yellow, orange and red across the courtyard. Today they are the sorry leftovers of a super slug feast. Like slimy locusts they have laid the courtyard bed bare. Fortunately I had been in and harvested the seeds a few days earlier and now have my very own homegrown “capers” pickling away.
Harvesting nasturtium seeds is easy. They are huge great things (for seeds) up to a centimetre long and look a little like mini brains. They come away from the plant easily and you can often see them on the ground underneath the flowers.
First you need to wash them and then soak them in brine (about 50g salt to 500ml water) for 24 hours.
The following day rinse and pack into sterilised jars and cover with boiling pickling vinegar. In theory you could use standard vinegar but pickling vinegar gives pickles that slightly rich flavour. You can buy packs of pickling spices or make up your own mix using, for example, mace, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, cardomom, coriander, juniper berries, bay leaves. Add the spices to the vinegar, bring to the boil then leave to cool for a minimum of a couple of hours, though overnight is better.
Seal with a well fitting lid or use a kilner jar. They should be ready to eat in two to three weeks. Pretty much any fruit or vegetable can be pickled, I pulled out shedloads of wild leek earlier in the spring and pickled the bulbs. I also adore pickled eggs and as we have hens it is a perfect way to use up the inevitable excess!