Nasturtiums are one of my favourite flowers to grow. They’re easy, don’t need much fussing over, they’re very attractive, make good companion plants and you can eat almost every part of them – what’s not to like?
Nasturtium leaves can be used in salads or just eaten while mooching around the allotment – they have quite a peppery flavour. The seed pods can be pickled and used like olives or capers, apparently (not tried that yet!) But what I’m concentrating on today is the petals, which can be used to make a rather nice jelly.
The difference between a jam and a jelly is that a jam has all the seedy bits left in and is opaque, while a jelly is clear and translucent, or at least it should be. The red currant “jelly” we tried to make was quite definitely jam!
So, jelly made from nasturtium petals – not as hard to make as you’d think! Most of the recipes I’ve found online for nasturtium jelly are from the US and use pectin, but I used jam sugar and it seemed to work out fine, so if you don’t have ready access to pectin then jam sugar is your friend.
You will need
3-4 sterilised jars and lids
Muslin or cheesecloth or similar
Heat proof jar for stewing
2 cups of nasturtium petals (just the petals, not the stamens in the middle of the flower)
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
3 1/2 cups of jam sugar
To sterilise the jars, place them (and their lids!) in a large saucepan of cold water and bring it to the boil. Put the lid on and let it boil for 15 minutes. Be careful when handling hot jars, and remember the rule of preserving – hot things go in hot jars and cold things go in cold jars.
Pick two cups of nasturtium petals – nice fresh ones, not the ones that are beginning to go over. Rinse them in cold water to get rid of any bugs. Put the petals in a heatproof jar. Boil two cups of water, pour them over your nasturtium petals and leave to settle and cool overnight.
What you will have in the morning is kind of a nasturtium tea – the colour will vary accord to the colour of your petals. Strain this tea through a muslin or light cloth and you should be left with a translucent coloured liquid with no bits in it – it’s really interesting to see the way the colour leaches out of the petals and into the tea!
Place your tea in a saucepan and add two tablespoons of lemon juice, and bring to the boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute. Add 3 1/2 cups of jam sugar and return to the boil. Allow to boil for 5 more minutes. I gave it the occasional stir, I don’t know if you really need to but it didn’t hurt.
You might see a kind of foam developing on the surface of the liquid. I think this is something to do with the pectin reacting. It’s nothing to worry about, just skim off any foam that develops (when I tried it there wasn’t much, but there may be more if you’re using pectin rather than jam sugar, so that’s something to be aware of).
Pour the jelly into the sterilised jam jars – be careful because the jars are HOT! Make sure you wipe any spilled jelly off the rims of the jars before tightening the lids. Can be stored in a cupboard on in the fridge after opening – apparently it’s nice with cheese and crackers but we has it on home-made spelt bread and it was very tasty, so it can go sweet or savory. It’s up to you!