Pickled Nasturtium Seeds (poor mans capers)


This has to be the ultimate free food find! If you have ever grown nasturtiums you will know how rampant they are. Well they produce a lot of seeds as well and those seeds can be put to good use by pickling them! They are very similar to capers. I used to be very suspicious of capers, they resemble little critters but are actually the flower buds of the caper plant. I will admit I didn’t use capers very often until recently when I developed a taste for them scattered over salads, they add little bites of pickled crunch that I just love. With last years farm challenge, particularly the foraging, still fresh in my mind I decided to try my hand at pickling the many seeds from a friends nasturtium plants.

Once acquiring my nasturtium seeds I turned to the internet, typically it appears everyone but me had tried this! I got the inspiration for my pickled nasturtium seeds from a blog I love called Hitchhiking To Heaven, Shae even calls them “California Capers” I just love that!

I didn’t make very many, I figured small batches were probably better for my needs. I will of course be eating these alone as there is no way I am ever going to get my green food fearing husband to try these! I was happy with the result, they are a little more crunchy than capers. Salty and tangy with a peppery flavour they have been a welcome addition to my salads this summer.

ingredients (to make one small jar) recipe barely adapted from here

  • nasturtium seeds (a good handful)
  • 15 grams salt
  • 200 mls water
  • 75 mls cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Rinse the nasturtium seeds and put into a jar.
  2. Make a brine by dissolving the salt in the water and pour this over the nasturtium seeds. Leave covered at room temperature for 2 days.
  3. After the 2 day soak drain and rinse the seed pods. Place into a sterile jar.
  4. Bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil and pour the hot vinegar into the jar, covering the nasturtium seeds. Add the bay leaf and put the lid on the jar.
  5. Cool and store in the refrigerator.

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  1. #1 by Liz on September 6, 2013 - 15:32

    now who’s brilliant and inspiring? That’s great information, Jayne. Had never known. Love that they bring a bit more texture to the plate. What fun 🙂

    • #2 by Jayne on September 6, 2013 - 18:29

      Thank you Liz! It’s fun to be adventurous sometimes isn’t it?

  2. #3 by Wendy Read (@Sunchowder) on September 6, 2013 - 16:00

    wow, love this Jayne! I have never pickled them, much more difficult to find them “wild” here in Florida, for me anyway 🙂 Great job on this post, I would really like to try this sometime.

    • #4 by Jayne on September 6, 2013 - 18:14

      Thanks Wendy, perhaps it’s a little too hot in Florida for nasturtiums?

  3. #5 by Lizthechef on September 6, 2013 - 22:25

    My front garden is loaded with “nasties” – they reseed and sometimes I yank them out by the handful…Cannot wait to try “California capers” – very creative!!

    • #6 by Jayne on September 15, 2013 - 17:24

      “Nasties”! They can be a bit weedy cant they? This is a good way to try to stop them reseeding!

  4. #7 by Charlotte @charlottekdiary on September 7, 2013 - 21:44

    Wow, how amazing Jayne – they sound absolutely delicious. Who’d have thought it?!

    • #8 by Jayne on September 15, 2013 - 17:24

      Thank you! It is a bit of a different idea isn’t it?

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