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Pickling Nasturtium Pods: How to Pickle Poor-Man’s Capers

Pickling Nasturtium Pods: How to Pickle Poor-Man’s Capers

It’s that time of year: my nasturtiums now control certain parts of my garden, they are brimming with flowers and I’m beginning to turn my attention to removing them to make way for spring planting. It kills me to have to remove them – I adore them, but they die as soon as the heat sets in and keeping them around is just a set back in getting my tomatoes in the ground.

What is love about the process is the ritual of collecting nasturtium flowers for salads (actually the whole plant is edible, but I’m particularly fond of the pop of colour that the flowers add to the plate) and of course, pod pickling! The pods make great additions to salads, pastas and basically anything you would ordinarily use capers in. It’s a great way to maximize the produce you take from your garden.

Nasturtium pods have a similar spicy mustard flavor to nasturtium flowers and leaves, but its more intense.

Here’s how to do it.

What you need

4 tablespoons salt

2 cups water

1 cup green nasturtium seedpods

1 1/5 cups white wine vinegar

4 teaspoons sugar

Herbs and spices of your choice!



This is an easy two-step process that involves brining the pods then pickling them. Make sure you pick young, pale green pods from your plants (you will usually find them in clumps of three pods growing off the stems). Older pods will start to yellow and harden and won’t be tasty when pickled.


Brining the pods before pickling will reduce the intensity of flavour, just enough to make them delightful on the palate.

Add water and salt to a small saucepan and bring to a boil to make the brine.

Place pods in a dish and pour over hot brine. Cover with a cloth and leave to sit at room temperature for 48 hours.


Rinse pods in cold water to remove the salt then pack into a sterilised glass jar.

Put the vinegar and sugar into a saucepan and add you favourite herb to the mix. I’m using rosemary and thyme because its in abundance in the garden right now, but you could add garlic, chilly, bay leaves, fennel seeds – whatever takes your fancy.

Bring to the boil, stirring to ensure sugar dissolves.

Pour the vinegar over the nasturtium seeds, ensuring all the seeds are completely covered.

Allow to cool before screwing on the lids.

Give them a week to soak up the pickly goodness before tucking in!


Pickled nasturtium seeds will keep for a long time in the fridge – just make sure they remain covered with vinegar and use clean utensils each time you reach for your pods with a spoon.


  • Billy
    May 16, 2017

    I would love to try and pickle nasturtiums and try them in pasta dishes. I’ve tried and made many pasta dishes that include capers as a prime ingredient to the end product – so I think it would be interesting to substitute nasturtiums and see what sort of flavor I can achieve! I have never tried them personally, but have always seen them in my mother’s garden. Very cool! Thank you for sharing your recipe – I can’t wait to try it at home!

  • Emma Leavey
    February 28, 2017

    This is so great! I had no idea that nasturtiums had pods that you can pickle! I love eating the flowers in salads too… do you think it’s too late in the season to bother buying nasturtium plants now?

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