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Nasturtium Capers, Part II

July 1, 2009

Today at lunch I took a walk and collected more nasturtium seeds. I reread the recipe and realized that I should have been picking them even younger and smaller than I had been, so I tried to skew my efforts to picking the youngest seeds that were green—the very youngest ones, while they are white, would probably also not be good, but the larger ones, or the ones that have begun to shrink and turn white again, are too hard and dry to be very tasty.

Process, and pics, below the jump.

Once I got home tonight, I gathered my ingredients:

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1/4 c nasturtium seeds, sea salt, 1 small head garlic (which I grew!), 1 c water, jar, smaller jar

I peeled the head of garlic (it was a very tiny one that I grew in a pot from a sprouting clove, and was of course very proud of that), sorted out the best nasturtium seeds and washed them, and prepped the large jar by boiling water in it in the microwave—probably wouldn’t have bothered except that it had last been used for garden stuff, so it might have unwanted microorganisms in it.

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The jar, incidentally, is a Benoît yogurt crock. The smaller jar is a jam jar that just fits, tightly, in the mouth of the crock.

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I used just under 1 T salt for 1 c water. The recipe called for 3/4 T salt per 1 c water.

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The capers-to-be and the garlic go into the jar.

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Then I cover them with brine.

I actually ended up using more brine than I needed to thoroughly cover the capers. The jar I was using as a “weight” only goes so far into the yogurt crock, so I needed to raise the brine level to suit.

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Capers float to the top, where they could be exposed to all kinds of filthy airborne bugs.

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The jam jar presses them below the surface of the brine.

I noticed that I was trapping air bubbles in the concave bottom of the jar, and that seemed bad, so I carefully tilted the jar to nurse the bubble out.

Then I covered the whole contraption with a lightweight cloth and set it in a quiet place in my room. Sandor suggests tasting the capers every day, and shares that his were ready after developing a film of mold on the surface of the brine at about a week. I’m hoping to get by without the surface mold, but we’ll see.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Kat permalink
    July 11, 2009 2:02 pm

    How do you know when the garlic you grow is ready? And did you grow it from an existing garlic clove, or what?

    • Kerrick permalink*
      July 11, 2009 2:17 pm

      I grew it in a pot from a clove that started sprouting in my kitchen. One’s supposed to use certified disease-free seed garlic, not regular eating garlic, but I wasn’t trying to start major garlic production so I didn’t worry about it too much. My gardening book said that when garlic tops dry out even though they’re still getting enough water, they’re ready to pull, so I waited until the top turned yellow and just pulled it up. I hung it to dry for a couple of weeks or so before using it.

      • Kat permalink
        July 11, 2009 3:12 pm

        I see. Sort of. I had a sprouting garlic in one of my planters for a while. It never really cloved out … when I pulled it up it was like a miniature head of garlic that was all one clove. Wasn’t sure if I should have left it longer or what.

      • Kerrick permalink*
        July 11, 2009 8:55 pm

        Huh, that’s weird. I felt like I left mine in the dirt an awful long time, though, so maybe it was too soon for yours. I think they do get bigger before they split into different cloves… you know how you find big cloves sometimes that are sort of multiple cloves but haven’t fully divided yet?

        What did the top look like? Mine looked kind of like the “ready” ones in this blog post.

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