How to make your own capers, and would you like some coffee?

20140930 nasturtiumwaterdrops

It has been a while. Thanks for sticking with me; I hope you have been very well. I have good reasons for staying away — which make for poor excuses, I know — including work, family, writing stories, compiling my next ebook…

As excited as I am about Uncooked, that’s not what this post is about. And it’s not about coffee, although there is a coffee-related giveaway later on in the post. Today I am writing to tell you to eat more weeds – and by weeds I mean nasturtiums.

In my ‘Eat your flowers’ post of 18 September 2012, I mentioned some of the health benefits of the humble nasturtium (which include its use as an antifungal, antiseptic and expectorant) and gave you a recipe for a blooming good smoothie [1]. With its application as a natural antibiotic for respiratory illnesses and tummy upsets [2], I have to wonder as to why do not take better advantage of this plant that floods many Perth suburbs by the end of each Winter.

The recipe to follow uses the seeds of this versatile plant, and you will find these in convenient clusters of three. When you are preparing to make your capers, be sure to pick the unopened flower buds and very young, green seeds that are still attached to the plant, as these will pickle faster and give a sweeter result; the older seeds are fine to use but can take up to 8 months to soften.

20140930 nasturtiumseeds

Recipe #147: Nasturtium Capers. This is a recipe of ratios, depending on how many seeds you harvest. You will need a saucepan to make the brine, and a bowl you can cover for the brining process.

For every 1 cup of nasturtium seeds and buds, you will need:
► 1 x 400-600mL jar, cleaned and sterilised
► 1/4 cup of Himalayan or sea salt
► 2 cups of water
► 2 bay leaves
► apple cider vinegar (enough to cover the nasturtiums in the jar)
► olive oil, to seal the vinegar

Begin by making the brine. Place the salt and water together in a saucepan over a heat source, stirring occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the heat when the salt crystals are dissolved. Put the saucepan to one side and allow the brine to cool.

Once the brine has reached room temperature, pour it over the nasturtium seeds and buds. Let the brined seeds/buds sit for two days, and drain.

Place the brined seeds and buds into jars with 1-2 bay leaves per small jar. Pour over enough apple cider to just cover the seeds and buds, then top up with olive oil to create a seal. Put your capers somewhere cool and dark to rest.

20140930 nasturtiumcapers1

Taste-test your nasturtium capers at 2 months, then at 2-weekly intervals, until they are pickled to your liking. While the end result will taste remarkably like the capers you already know, the nasturtium capers have a slightly firmer texture and a peppery aftertaste.

20140930 nasturtiumcapers2

I seem to remember reading somewhere that the dried capers could be used as a coffee substitute. The truth is that I probably wouldn’t go to the trouble of preparing capers for coffee except as a novelty; I love the taste, smell and ritual of real coffee too much.

A short time ago, a representative from Griffiths Coffee kindly gifted me with some Just Fair coffee to give away to one lucky reader. Just Fair is available at a wide array of independent stores around Australia and, as well as being delicious, it prides itself on being certified Fairtrade and organic.

20140930 JustFair

To win a 250g tin of ground organic espresso coffee, all you need to do is leave a comment to this post, listing where you are from and detailing your favourite coffee-inspired recipe or ritual. The competition closes at 5pm WST on 15 October 2014. I will announce the winner on this blog (chosen via random number selection) on 16 October – when I will also announce another giveaway.

Note that, while interstate or overseas readers are very welcome to comment, this is a local giveaway to readers from Perth, WA due to postage cost.

Speaking of coffee, on 16 October (that’s World Food Day to you!), my Uncooked ebook will be released for around the cost of a Perth coffee – and you can pre-order your very own copy from Amazon. I’m thrilled to be able to present this to you, as it represents over 60 of my most popular class recipes from the past five years in the one place, many of which do not appear in this blog.

As a final note, we will be making the blooming good smoothie, among other seasonal recipes, at my Spring Bling uncooking class on 12 October — and there is still a place for you. Let me know if you want to take it 🙂

Good luck with all your capers, and I hope to see you on 12 October,

H 🙂


References:

  1. Khan, T. (2010) ‘Nasturtium Seeds & Flowers’ on GardenGuides.com. Available online via http://www.gardenguides.com/130502-nasturtium-seeds-flowers.html [last accessed: 30 September 2014].
  2. Shipard, I. (2008) ‘Nasturtium – Natural Antibiotic’ on Herbs are Special. Available online via http://www.herbsarespecial.com.au/isabells_blog/nasturtium-natural-antibiotic.html [last accessed: 30 September 2014].
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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Jen Dyball says:

    Oh my God Hannah – what a fabulous newsletter!!!! I love capers and I’m going out to harvest my nasturtium buds RIGHT NOW!!!!! Thankyou – can’t wait for your book. Jen xo

    1. Hannah says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Jen – and for your enthusiasm about Uncooked 😉

      I was surprised at how easy these ‘poor man’s capers’ are to make, and how good they taste. Please let me know how you go with them!

      H 🙂

  2. annie medley says:

    Just picking nasturtium seeds today…well timed!

    1. Hannah says:

      Nice one, Annie! Let me know how your capers turn out.

      H 🙂

  3. Jess says:

    Thanks for the idea, have never considered capers!

    With coffee, I love making an almond milk coffee pannacotta, delicious and nourishing!! (oh and I’m from Perth) 🙂

    1. Hannah says:

      Thanks, Jess. What a great way to enjoy your coffee!

      H 🙂

  4. Mar(k)Mar says:

    Mar here, from Perth! My coffee ritual each morning, with hubby, is to enjoy our coffee together while we do a crossword! A lovely, relaxed way to start the day!

    1. Hannah says:

      I love the sound of this ritual, Mar, and I think I will try to adopt it myself, if only on weekends.

      H 🙂

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