Variegated Nasturtium Leaves
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Variegated Nasturtium leaves are circular, shield-shaped leaves that grow on a trailing plant. They are mottled green and white in color, with thin veins. They grow in lush clusters, and are small and delicate, reaching around 15 centimeters in diameter. Variegated Naturtium leaves are fragrant, with a mustard-like scent. They are tender, but are quite zingy and hot in taste, with a peppery flavor similar to watercress. The older the leaves, they more spicy they are, and tend to take on a bitter taste.
Variegated Nasturtium leaves are available through the summer and early fall months.
Variegated Nasturtium leaves are botanically classified as Tropaeolum majus. They are distinguished from Nasturtium leaves by the mottled effect on the foliage. They are considered heirloom cultivars, and varieties of Variegated Nasturtiums include Alaska and Troika Nasturtiums. Variegated Nasturtiums are a dwarf variety of nasturtium, and are often grown as an ornamental. Besides their pretty leaves, they bear attractive flowers that range from pastel yellows, to intense, vibrant reds. All parts of the plant, such as the flowers and seeds, are edible and bear the peppery taste of the leaves.
Variegated Nasturtium leaves contain manganese, iron, flavonoids, beta carotene and a high amount of vitamin C. Studies have shown that they have antibiotic properties, which are at their strongest before the plant begins to flower.
Variegated Nasturtium leaves are best eaten raw. They may be used in sandwiches and salads - try them in a mix of microgreens - or as a garnish atop other vegetable and meat dishes. They pair well with cheeses, and can be chopped up and mixed in with soft cheese as a spread. They also do well with aromatics like garlic, chives and onions. Store Variegated Nasturtium leaves in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator, where they will last for a maximum of five days.
Nasturtiums are known to have been eaten as a vegetable by the Incas. They have a long history of use in Andean herbal medicine, where they are seen as having antibiotic, disinfectant and wound-healing effects. They were used in the treatment for scurvy, being high in vitamin C.
Tropaeolum majus is native to South America. They appear in the Andes, from Bolivia to Columbia. They also are grown in parts of the United States and Canada, as well as Europe, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Italy and France. They are found in the Asia Pacific regions, from Australia and New Zealand, to Japan and Korea. South American Andes from Bolivia to Columbia. Variegated Nasturtiums date back at least 100 years. Some are cultivated, and some are natural hybrids. The Gleam series of nasturtiums for instance, some of which bear variegated leaves, are said to have been found growing in a convent garden in Mexico in the 1920s. They were a popular plant during the Depression years in the United States, and later were an All-America Selections winner in 1935.