My garden is full of flowers just now. Not the upright-in-the-borders-carefully-cultivated kind of flowers that look so park like, no, my flowers just grow where they like, spread all over the flag stones (in the case of the manic giant daisies that make hanging out the washing a feat of acrobatics to avoid squishing them) and overflow the somewhat neglected beds.
I like flowers just to be themselves and do their own thing.
My nasturtiums just blaze with colour and creep out of their bed and meander over the flagstones to join the merry march with the daisies in making a floral take-over bid.
They are in all shades of yellow and orange to deep rustic red. I love my nasturtiums, though I have to say, this wasn’t always the case. Way back in the dim and distant past our neighbours had nasturtiums all along their garden fence. A neat little row of them year after year. We kids hated the smell of them and when we found out that this was an edible flower used to goad each other into nibbling on the bitter leaves, popping the seed pods at each other and generally spoiling our neighbours lovely flower bed.
Roll on a good few decades and I find that I love the pungent, almost urgent scent of nasturtiums. I adore that earthy hot and savoury taste from the leaves and the more delicate taste of the flowers. Oh and nowadays I don’t throw the seed pods at other people, instead I pickle them and use them just like capers.
One of the ways that I like to use my nasturtiums instead of just scattering the lovely flowers and fresh leaves in a colourful salad, is to make this super easy hot sauce. It is fiery stuff and makes a great alternative to store bought sauce.
Making any sort of preserve (be it pickles, vinegars, sauces or jams and chutneys etc) is a great way to hold on to the essence of summer when the days start to get dark and stormy. I love this hot sauce as it is bright and colourful and so very spicy, it makes me see those beautiful colourful nasturtium flowers with every taste.
Here’s how to make Nasturtium Hot Sauce;
You will need approximately 1 cup of closely packed nasturtium flowers. It is always best to pick flowers at herbs in the morning after the dew has dried off their leaves and petals but before the sun is high in the sky (noon) when the plants are too dry.
1 clove of garlic.
1 tiny red chilli pepper.
2 cups/500ml of apple cider vinegar.
The only equipment you need here is a jar large enough to hold all your ingredients. Please sterilise it first, see instructions on my sterilising resources page, and some small sterilised bottles to store the resulting hot sauce in.
Remove any dust and particles from the flowers and carefully pat dry.
Pack the flowers into your jar .
Peel and chop the clove of garlic and add this to the jar.
Split the little chilli and add this to the jar.
Now pour in the apple cider vinegar.
Pop the lid on the jar and give it a good shake.
Store in a cool dark cupboard for 1 week remembering to shake it every day.
After a week the flowers will have coloured the vinegar the most gorgeously vibrant colour. It will depend on the colour of the flowers what colour of vinegar you get, yellow flowers give a golden hue while the deep red beauties will create a really rich almost burgundy colour.
Strain your vinegar through a sieve lined with kitchen paper or muslin and decant into smaller bottles.
Your hot sauce will keep for up to 6 months in a cool dark cupboard.
Enjoy it just as you would any other hot sauce and remember the garden and summer sunshine every time you use it.
- 1 cup of closely packed nasturtium flowers
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 small red chilli pepper
- 2 cups/500ml apple cider vinegar
- Clean off the flowers and pack into a sterilised jar.
- Peel the garlic, slice and add to the jar.
- Slit the chilli in half and add to the jar.
- Fill jar with the apple cider vinegar.
- Pop on the lid and shake well.
- Store in a cool dark place for 1 week and then strain through a sieve lined with kitchen paper or muslin and decant into small sterilised bottles.
- Store in a cool dark place and use within 6 months.