|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 1g||0%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 0g|
|Vitamin C 6mg||31%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
While extremely delicious and the finishing touch on traditional recipes like chicken piccata, capers can be an expensive store-bought item for the home cook. You don't have to give up on taste in the name of being thrifty, though. When traditional capers just aren't in the budget, or you'd like to opt for a homemade version, pickled nasturtium buds or pods are an inexpensive substitute for pricey capers.
Nasturtiums are wildly weedy plants that are known for their edible flowers. While the flowers and leaves have a warm, tangy flavor, the buds or pods have a distinct mustardy flavor, and when pickled, can taste remarkably similar to traditional capers. Even better, pickled nasturtium pods are extremely inexpensive (even free if you can find them) and easy to make.
1 quart nasturtium seed pods
1 quart white wine vinegar
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 medium lemon, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/4 teaspoon pickling salt
1 teaspoon pickling spice
4 to 6 whole peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients.
After the nasturtium blossoms fall off, pick the half-ripened (still green) nasturtium seed pods. Continue picking as long as the seed crop continues.
Combine wine vinegar, onion, lemon, garlic, pickling salt, pickling spice, peppercorns, and celery seed in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
Pour cooled mixture over nasturtium seeds in an airtight container and refrigerate for one week.
Keep the mixture refrigerated and use the nasturtium pickles in sauces, dips, casseroles, soups, stews, and as edible decorations. You can substitute for capers 1-to-1 in any recipe.
- If you decide to forage for nasturtium pods, be sure that you pick them at their optimal stage. The nasturtium plant doesn't usually begin forming seedpods until late in the summer. Around that time of the year, you can find them attached to the stems underneath the foliage, where they develop in clusters of three. After the nasturtium blossom withers and falls away, you will want to pick the half-ripened seedpods—they will still be green and soft. As the pods mature, they will turn yellowish at which point they are no longer palatable.
Recipe Source: This recipe was originally submitted by thrifty home cook Marion Owen. We've reprinted it here with permission.