Collecting Nasturtium Seeds

Although the nasturtiums are still in full bloom, and slyly continuing their attempts to take over the vegetable patch, some weeks ago I noticed that the plants were already forming their seeds, hanging in green clusters of two or three.

A quick rummage beneath the plants a few days ago revealed that a number of seeds have already fallen to the ground.  I collected these up, ready to be put in an envelope and kept to sow next year.  With many more seeds still clinging to the plants, and hundreds of buds still to bloom, I think there will be a lot more seeds before the end of the summer.

No lack of nasturtiums next year, then! I haven’t collected the seeds before, but a lot of plants happily sprang up this year where we hadn’t planted them, so last year’s seed obviously had no trouble germinating in place.

Next year I may even try pickling the green seeds – apparently this is the traditional English version of capers, even Mrs Beeton provided a recipe and used nasturtium seeds as a substitute for capers in many of her other recipes. Here is her recipe from The Book Of Household Management.

PICKLED NASTURTIUMS (a very good Substitute for Capers)

INGREDIENTS.–To each pint of vinegar, 1 oz. of salt, 6
peppercorns, nasturtiums.

Mode.–Gather the nasturtium-pods on a dry day, and wipe them clean
with a cloth; put them in a dry glass bottle, with vinegar, salt, and
pepper in the above proportion. If you cannot find enough ripe to fill a
bottle, cork up what you have got until you have some more fit: they may be added from day to day. Bung up the bottles, and seal or rosin the
tops. They will be fit for use in 10 or 12 months; and the best way is
to make them one season for the next.

Seasonable.–Look for nasturtium-pods from the end of July to the end
of August.

She goes on to give the following description of nasturtiums:

NASTURTIUMS.–The elegant nasturtium-plant, called by
naturalists Tropoeolum, and which sometimes goes by the name
of Indian cress, came originally from Peru, but was easily made
to grow in these islands. Its young leaves and flowers are of a
slightly hot nature, and many consider them a good adjunct to
salads, to which they certainly add a pretty appearance. When
the beautiful blossoms, which may be employed with great effect
in garnishing dishes, are off, then the fruit is used as
described in the above recipe.


5 thoughts on “Collecting Nasturtium Seeds

  1. Dear Sara, Gathering one’s own seed for sowing in a future year is always so exciting but, I must confess, that I rarely do it having realised too late that the optimum moment has passed.

    However, I insist that J collects seed from my pots of Cerinthe, placed strategically near hard paving for ease of gathering, since they are such lovely plants and the seeds are big, black and easily noticed.

    I generally do not favour annuals but I think that Nasturtiums are so cheerful, especially amongst vegetables in the kitchen garden.

    • Dear Edith,
      I don’t tend to favour many annuals in the herbaceous borders either, but I do love the bright colours of nasturtiums dotted around our vegetable beds. Especially while we are rather lacking in herbaceous borders this year! I’ll take any excuse to squeeze a few bright blooms into any bit of garden that I can.

  2. Interesting! i’ve grown nasturtium for its lovely flowers and have tossed the leaves into a salad, but i’ve never heard of pickling the seeds. thanks for the tip!

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