Nasturtium cheese spread.

Cream cheese dip. Nasturtiums. 

Cream cheese dip. Nasturtiums. 

This year, for the first time, I grew nasturtiums in my herb pot and got into adding the lovely peppery leaves to my meals.  The leaves and the flowers are both edible: the leaves give you a big boost of Vitamin C and the flowers just make the food look so pretty. So a double whammy. (You can buy edible nasturtiums in most stores when they are in season, in the summer)

Here's a quick and easy recipe for you, with a little history of these wonderful food/flowers coming up.

RECIPE

100g of cream cheese (Philadelphia is just perfect or a dairy-free spreadable cheese if you prefer)

2 teaspoons of finely chopped young nasturtium leaves 

3 nasturtium flowers

Oat cakes or any other cheese biccies you like (there are plenty of tasty gluten-free options)

Just mix the cream cheese with the green leaves and add the flowers for decoration - and eating - and serve with oatcakes. Yum, healthy and too easy. And great fun for the children or grandchildren to pick!

WARNING: The leaves go bitter pretty quickly, so eat as soon as you can. And don't eat more than 15g at a time or more than 30g a day. The leaves are very peppery so less really is more.

Now for a bit of history......

Edible nasturtiums growing in my herb pot.

Edible nasturtiums growing in my herb pot.

HISTORY

These beautiful, easy to grow flowers, originated in the Andes, South America. I don't know how some of my favourite healthy foods (remember my love of quinoa) manage to have such great health benefits growing on the side of a rocky mountain, but they do! The leaves are high in Vitamin C and were used to prevent scurvy as well as used as a natural antibiotic.

In the UK nasturtiums were called Indian Cress 'cause they tasted so similar to watercress. 

Philly cream cheese with peppery nasturtium leaves. 

Philly cream cheese with peppery nasturtium leaves. 

HEALTH & BEAUTY BENEFITS

Because of the high concentration of Vitamin C in nasturtium leaves, eating a couple of leaves may well help prevent a cold from developing.

Eating a couple of leaves a day is said to help clear up acne. (See warning below)

It's thought that using nasturtium tea as a hair tonic can increase blood circulation and the flow of nutrients to the scalp.

The tea can also be used in place of a toner for oily skin.

NASTURTIUM TEA 

Thank you Calorie Bee for this great recipe. and the information above.  You can find even more info on nasturtiums, with references, on her site here.

Place one cup of flowers and/ or buds in a litre of water in a pot. Cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and store in the fridge.

For hair growth, massage into scalp before rinsing hair. Try using daily.

**********************************************************************************************************

I have yet to try these top tips, but would love to hear from you if you have had any success with any of them.

On a final note, as with any herb, be careful, don't use the leaves as a cure all for days on end, and if you are on any medication, check with your doctor before chomping your way through these gorgeous leaves. Moderation is the key here.

See you soon and and don't forget if you want any more recipes there are plenty for you in Blog Categories.