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Duncan’s pickled nasturtium seeds recipe (UK capers)


Photo: Pickled Nasturtium seeds

Photo: Pickled Nasturtium seeds

Have you ever tasted nasturtium seeds?  They’re nutty and peppery. I knew that they could be pickled to make an English version of the continental caper but I’ve never found a recipe when the seeds are green and perfect for pickling.

So I was delighted when Duncan, a reader and contributor to the Cottage Smallholder site, sent me his recipe. He had already road tested it.
“I sampled my first batch yesterday and wow they are good.

I have got the next batch in brine as I type. As it was a success and it is a good free alternative to that classic Italian ingredient I thought I would send it through to you…”

I shot down to the kitchen garden where trailing nasturtiums are romping across the borders. I found a handful of seeds and over the next week collected a small bowl of them. If you do this check the seeds carefully before brining and reject any brown ones.

My small bowl of nasturtium seeds didn’t fill a pound jar so I searched in the barn for dinky jars that seemed really too small to keep. Thank goodness I’m a hoarder

Duncan’s pickled nasturtium seeds recipe

  1. Pick the Nasturtium seeds when still green. Place in a wet brine made of 50g
    salt and 450ml /1 pint cold water. Leave for 24 hrs.
  2. Drain the seeds and rinse, then pack into warmed (sterilised) jars and cover with boiling *spiced vinegar and seal with plastic lined metal lids. Don’t use cellophane jam tops as the vinegar will evaporate.
  3. Leave for 3 weeks to mature.

*For the spiced vinegar – I adapted Oded Schwartz’s recipe for mild spiced European vinegar. used 500ml of white wine vinegar plus 1 tsp of black peppercorns, a small piece of blade mace, 1 tsp of celery seeds, 1 clove of garlic crushed, 1 small dried red chilli pepper (crumbled), I bay leaf, I tsp of juniper berries, 1 tsp of salt. Brought to the boil and simmered gently for 10 minutes and then strained through muslin.

  Leave a reply


  1. I’m told they’re a useful addition in the vegetable mix for piccalilli.

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Carol

    What a shame about the seeds.

    I haven’t heard about ‘vegetatively’ propogating them. They self seed all over our kitchen garden.

  3. Wish I’d found this post before I pulled out all my caterpillar chewed nasturtiums – no I’m not going to rummage through the compost heap – it’ll have to wait till next year. Have kept some seed though which is earmarked for a playgroup planting activity next year. Have had some beautifully diverse flowers this year from saved seed – a friend did say that you can propogate them by some sort of vegetative method – cuttings maybe. Has anyone tried?

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Duncan

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Can’t wait to see what they taste 🙂

  5. I am so glad that the recipe is proving a hit and i look forward to hearing feed back on how well they turn out. I am currently working on my last batch of the season which i am going to do with Balsamic Vinigar, i will let you know the verdict.

    It is also very exciting to have a recipe on a website – i feel like a celebrity chef! OK not quite.

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Paula

    Perfect synchronicity!

  7. oh dandy! I was just thinking today that I have so many nasturtium seeds I really should pickle them, but ugh! to find a recipe…and here one is!!! many thanks to Duncan!

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pattypan

    I find that my nasturtiums self seed most years. They start to appear quite a while after I expect them to so usually I have planted new seed as insurance.

    Great that you are enjoying the site.

    Hi Michelle

    I’ve loved nasturtiums ever since I spotted the guinea pigs using the leaves as umbrellas in Beatrix Potter.

    Your Zebbycat has real star quality.

  9. Michelle in NZ

    Oooo yes, have a packet of seeds here to sow soon (soaking them in water first). Flowers beautiful and edible, leaves edible, and will attempt to leave the flowers be so I can pickle the seed pods come Autumn.

    So happy you’ve found them – they have a wonderful pepperyness, flower, leaf and pickled seed pod.

    Daft Zebby if clawing up and down my back, seeking attention – while it picks up masses of cat fur, thank goodness for thick polar fleece!!!

    love from me, clawing demand for huggles from Zeb,

    Michelle xxx

  10. I have never tried these – have read about using them, so supposedly will be good in home made tar tare sauce. Have got me thinking here – I normally have a load of nasturtiums growing in the garden, but this year didn’t put many in. I think next year that will be remedied. By the way love your site its one of my favourites.


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