Was buying a spindly plug of a nasturtium to grow with my little boy, hoping for a little too much? Would all that careful attention from a toddler’s pink watering can result in the ugly spectacle of a bug fest bloodbath, nasty black fly eating such a carefully tended plant?
Unlike my previous attempts, all that aged 2-and-three-quarter love & attention must have beaten the black fly into submission; that or the ants’ antics we’d watched as they ran up & down the loopy stems on the hunt for tasty gifts and regalia to take home to their queen. Our trailing nasturtium took over the entire wall of our 2-up 2-down house, its rambling blooms managing to cleverly avoid the snags of the roses whilst it stretched out steadying itself on the gorgeous Italian parsley across 3 other large pots that everyone thought I was so mad to bring back to the UK with me.
Toddler Gardening Gem
The result, nasturtiums are a toddler gardening gem, quick growing with masses of bright trumpet shaped flowers that the bees love and so perfect for story-telling, their umbrella shaped leaves provide the perfect shelter for small dinosaurs from the rain and pink watering cans. Both parts proved to be a brilliant food source, added to salads and whizzed into a pesto with dry roasted pistachio inspired by a post about Sicilian cuisine I’d read. A loved it as well as his Mummy & Daddy. Perhaps picking it and then helping to blend it in the food processor is all part of the trick of getting a rather picky toddler to eat. Another health reason for parents to encourage eating nasturtium flowers is that they are act as natural penicillin in helping to fight off infections.
3 Types of Urban Harvest
Our 3rd harvest from our ever giving plant was its berries. Often referred to rather insultingly as poor mans capers, we had great fun, finding them in the leaves and practice pinching them away to fill our little green cup.
I’ve pickled these using the recipe on The Cottage Crofter but substituted Lemon Thyme & Marjoram into the vinegar, not sure they will be so toddler friendly to eat but we can try a few hidden with some fresh olives and tuna in pasta.
- 12 Nasturtium Leaves
- 8 Nasturtium Flowers
- 8 Basil Leaves
- 125 g Shelled Pistachio
- 1 Garlic Clove
- c 230 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt to taste
- Dry roast the pistachio with a little sea salt and leave to cool
- Roughly blend the garlic, pistachio in a food processor, add the leaves, flowers and oil blend again till a fine paste with a little bite
- Add further salt as required to taste, serve with wholewheat linguine