Tropaeolum majus also known as Indian Cress
Nasturtiums are bright – see Google page of pictures. They range through yellow-orange to fiery red annuals. This is a plant for which the phrase ‘getting the most out of a plant’ really rings true. Growing nasturtiums is easy. All parts are edible – the flowers, leaves and seeds.
You can plant nasturtium seeds in a bed, border, to climb against a fence, or in containers and hanging baskets. Nasturtiums are easy to grow, in full sun or partial shade. They prefer moist, well-drained poor to ordinary garden soil; too rich a soil results in a profusion of lush green leaves but this is at the expense of flowers. The climbing, trailing and dwarf varieties readily self-seed or the seeds can be gathered and started in pots in the greenhouse.
Good introduction to natural history for children
They’re great for children to plant, not only as the largish seeds are easily held by small fingers but they are fairly quick to germinate and grow. And if you show children how to sow lettuce and radish seeds beside the nasturtiums, there’ll be benefits, both for the plants’ health and the children’s knowledge.
Buds, flowers, leaves and seeds are all edible and quick to pick, contain vitamin C and, belonging to the Cruciferae (mustard) family, also contain a type of mustard oil, benzyl isothiocyanate, with a peppery taste. This oil is not only very useful in salt and pepper-free diets, but possesses antifungal properties and impedes the growth of bacteria and viruses.
Originating in Bolivia and Columbia, seeds were brought to Europe from Peru by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century and hence became considered a symbol of conquest and victory.
Nasturtiums are planted in the spring, once the danger of frost is over. They can be used not only for decoration in the flower garden but also amongst vegetables, as a companion plant for radishes, whilst their pungent smell can be utilised by careful siting, to repel or attract pests.
Use nasturtiums as a natural repellent
Woolly aphis can be repelled from apple trees by planting nasturtiums around the base of the tree, or by spraying affected branches with an infusion made from the whole plant, while a few nasturtiums near tomato plants and broccoli can deter whitefly. On the other hand, blackfly find the smell attractive, so adding a few nasturtiums near broad beans will help to lure them away to the nasturtiums, subsequently nipping off any attacked parts. When frosts appear, the stems can be chopped up and added to the compost heap.
In natural medicine, fresh leaves can be used for combating infections of the urinary tract and the respiratory system.
Using nasturtiums as a natural remedy
Juice from leaves (liquidised and strained) can be of benefit as a remedy for coughs and bronchitis, while liquidising and straining the fresh leaves and stems produces a liquid which will ease skin irritations and painful muscles, and act as an antiseptic for wounds.
Dried seeds can be powdered for use as a mild laxative; or crushed to a pulp, then sandwiched between two layers of muslin or cheesecloth, with a plate above and beneath and placed over a pan of boiling water to produce a hot poultice to bring spots and boils to a head.
The naturally occurring sulphur in the plant can be utilised to make a hair and anti-dandruff lotion. Place one large handful of leaves and a cup of vodka in a wide-necked screwtop jar, cover and keep in a warm place for two weeks, shaking the jar once a day. Then strain it repeatedly until a clear lotion is produced and apply it to the scalp with a cottonwool pad, once or twice a week, ensuring no lotion enters the eyes.
Recipes for nasturtiums
In the kitchen, the flowers will look attractive while adding texture and flavour to food. Those flowers with a long spur at the base, have a drop of sweet nectar giving a sweet/sour flavour. When picking, if you find tiny, black, pollen beetles on the flowers, put the stems in water, cover the whole with a brown paper bag, place, preferably outside, in a dark spot (away from the wind), to allow the beetles to drop off and go elsewhere. Nasturtium petals can be added to omelettes and cream cheese for extra flavour, while petals or the whole flowers can be scattered over lettuce for salads. As an additional salad ingredient, wash some leaves, pile on top of one another, and then roll up, slice into strips and toss in a vinaigrette
Make the vinaigrette from
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 1 dessertspoon vinegar (half the normal quantity due to the strong flavour of the nasturtiums)
• salt and pepper, adding fresh seeds, whole, or crushed with a fork
To pickle the seeds for use as mock capers, pick the seeds on a dry day, wash and then soak them for 12 to 24 hours in a brine of 57g (2oz) salt to 570ml (1 pt) water. Drain and then put them in small jars, filling to 13mm (1/2 inch) of the top. Cover them with cold spiced vinegar in the proportions 570ml (1pt) vinegar, 6 peppercorns, 2 bay leaves and 2 teaspoons salt, or for a more spicy result, replace the bay leaves with a slice of horseradish root, 1 clove and 2 tarragon leaves. Seal the jars and try to keep them for 12 months before using.
For a salt and pepper-free diet, ripe nasturtium seeds can be ground and kept for use in tightly-stoppered bottles. This was done during World War II but for different reasons – pepper was very expensive and sometimes unobtainable. Adding a little salt will improve the flavour.
Among other recipes, the pickled seeds can be added to martinis; relish can be spread on the leaves, then rolled up and loosely tied with a long-stemmed flower – try a relish of cream cheese, chopped walnuts and raisins, or mix tuna, parsley and mayonnaise. Or for a different effect, large flowers can be stuffed with a teaspoon of the cheese or tuna relish.
Add up all these reasons and I think you’ll agree that nasturtiums are certainly well worth growing and utilising.
Sìne Chesterman’s interest in gardening and botany started at an early age with her own patch in her parents’ garden, and learning which plants were natural healers. Brought up with old and tested remedies, and gardening methods, now termed ‘organic’, she still practises natural ways of pest control.
What does it mean, to be busy? We’ve always been busy, children, garden, job, house cleaning, it helps when your partner sorts the bills, the car and all it involves, and anything that we don’t want to get into. And why not? They don’t want to get into nappies, dog poo, washing the laundry, cleaning the windows, cleaning the loo, generally.
So division of chores is good … And getting the kids involved, meaningfully, is good too. So why are we still so busy, even though there is some sharing out? Why do we have less time for being close to people? Because we like being busy. We like achieving things, gettings things done. That’s the easy bit. What is not so easy is getting along with people. They can be awkward, not agree with you, point out uncomfortable facets of your personality, ignore you, forget you, and those who are completely themselves tend to be selfish and go their own way, after all you can be awkward, disagree with them, point out the facets of their character you don’t like.
Another aspect of ‘busy’ is there is more to choose from. There are more people doing those things and you want to be part of that group. Part of the gang. When we were newly married in the 1960‘s it was comforting to be part of our group, everyone was roughly in the same boat, mortgage, demanding job, impending parenthood, trying out recipes, making our own beer – what a competition that was! Competitiveness was everything actually, I remember when the men made scones to prove they were as good as the girls, they weren’t really. I remember too a custard making competition that was fearfully skewed in favour of what we were used to rather than taking on a new texture and real vanilla! However Bird’s Eye did lose a few fans that day.
I can remember races in Austin Sprites and MG Midgets round country lanes, the girls screaming with laughter and the boys putting their foot hard down to get round the bends. The roads were quieter then, the cars were less powerful. We were lucky, nobody got hurt.
We took risks, we didn’t take drugs. We drank, we didn’t carry knives. We were young. We were happy. We were high spirited. We were normal.
Most of us had had a sound education. We had jobs. We could pick and choose jobs too – there were more jobs than people to fill them. Immigrants were encouraged to come to do the work we didn’t want to do. We donated to charities especially those in Africa.
So what’s changed? In 2011 we are more. The population has increased. The roads are busier. The popular message until recently was shop ‘til you drop. The throwaway society. We are consumers. We like spending money. We resent it when we have less to spend.
So how do we differ from the hardcore rioters? I don’t count those silly enough to get caught up in the excitement of damaging property and policemen. I’m talking about those who are disaffected, resentful, envious, without those values we care about, who didn’t get caught.
What percentage of society are they? Very small percentage actually. But they have always been there. It’s just that the number, not the percentge, has escalated with the increase in population. And our attitude has a lot to do with it. Ignoring those who could do with a bit of support. Not encouraging a tolerance of difference, sharing our good fortune – not just money, but experience.
And, we could be less casual and tolerant of our influential leaders who are so lacking in empathy. In the past they have publically displayed all the characteristics of the rioters, yet they were described as high spirited – just as well they had cash to cover their trashing.
Duplicity cannot be tolerated. We must make that clear to our politicians. We need leaders who can be recognised as good examples, no matter what.
None of us like the thought of our parents becoming frail and needing full-time care. For many families, though, it’s inevitable and it can put immense strain on everyone involved.
When Angela Sherman’s parents both developed Parkinson’s Disease in their early 50s, she could never have foreseen the nightmare journey they were all about to embark on. 20 years later her parents were in full-time nursing care with the added complications of dementia, stroke and cancer.
“My parents had some savings, and so I simply assumed they’d have to pay for their own care. No one told me otherwise. At that point the care fees were about £4,500 per month for both of them, and I knew that I’d have to think about selling the family home to pay for it. It was heartbreaking.”
Because Angela’s parents had savings, few people in any ‘authority’ seemed willing to help her with information or advice, and her parents’ local authority (local council) were keen to close all their files. When this happens it leaves families in a black hole, not knowing what to do or who to talk to – and that can often be the hardest thing.
It was only when Angela saw a TV programme about NHS funding for long-term care that she started researching what funding is actually available.
“Before you go into a care home,” says Angela, “the first thing you’re usually asked is how you’re going to pay for it. Social Services (your local council) will do a means test, and if you have savings or assets over about £23,000 (depending where you live in the UK), you’ll be told you have to pay all the costs of your care.
“This is the wrong way round. If you have significant health needs – and most people in a nursing home have health needs – it’s the NHS that should assess you for fully-funded NHS care, also known as NHS Continuing Healthcare. Social Services should not be making this decision. If you’re in a residential home, you may also require as assessment for NHS funding, depending on your health needs.”
The confusion arises with the difference between ‘social’ care and ‘health’ care. In the UK social care is means-tested, but health care is free at the point of use. Just because you’re elderly doesn’t mean the law has changed. We all pay tax to fund the NHS, and the NHS in return provides us with healthcare – no matter what our age.
“Most people are completely unaware of this,” states Angela, “and the various authorities involved don’t exactly publicise it. The devastating result is that tens of thousands of elderly people every year in the UK lose their homes and everything they’ve worked for, to pay for care they’ve already paid for through taxation.
“Being forced to pay for health care in the UK does not comply with the law. As my parents’ power of attorney, I decided to challenge the NHS on this and I pursued two cases against it – one on behalf of Mum and one on behalf of Dad. My point was that the NHS was illegally stripping my parents of all their assets to pay for care which they had a right to receive as UK taxpayers. It took me three years and a huge amount of time, tears and stamina – but eventually I won both cases.
“By that time my parents had paid out £160,000 on care fees. The NHS was forced to repay over £100,000 and pay all future fees. It can be hard to win a case like this. I am one of very few people to have done it – not just once, but twice – and at the same time. A solicitor friend was a welcome sounding board for me, but essentially I fought the battle myself – and other people can too.
“The whole process left me exhausted, but I feel glad to have had the stamina and drive to do it. Both my parents died at the end of 2009 and, after I’d taken some time to recover, I decided that my experience could help other families. That’s why I set up Care To Be Different.”
Care To Be Different makes available to families all the knowledge and insider insights Angela gained during her dealings with the NHS, and her guidance and advice now helps people step-by-step through the whole process. The website is packed with information and there’s also a range of practical guides people can purchase for a small fee. You can also book a telephone advice appointment with Angela to help you move forward with your own specific situation.
“I’ve ‘been there and done it’, as it were – and now I can save people huge amounts of time and stress and give them a much better chance of securing NHS funding for care fees. I wish I’d had all this information when my own parents first went into care!”
For information and advice about care fees and long-term care visit www.caretobedifferent.co.uk or call Angela Sherman on 01908 582231.
Care to be Different is led by Angela Sherman and it grew from her experience having two parents in full-time care for several years, learning the ins and outs of the care system and understanding how it really works in practice. She also challenged the NHS to provide free Fully-Funded NHS Care (known as NHS Continuing Healthcare) for both parents – and won.
Watch her TV interview about NHS Continuing Healthcare on our YouTube channel.
Alternatively, read the interview transcript.
We have written a review of a book entitled The Care Homes Guide – South East England which you might find useful.
Val Reynolds Brown, Editor
We had six copies of this beautifully illustrated guide book to London to give away to readers of In Balance Magazine
The winners of the draw are:
G Coleman, Romford S Collinge, Blackpool A Baldan, Southend V Fieth, Welwyn Garden City K Krogulec, Nottingham J O’Neill, Shepperton
Congratulations and good luck in the next Prize Draws.
Val Reynolds Brown, Editor
Wandering round the garden today I picked several bunches of herbs to dry for use during the winter months.
I tie the stalks together and place upside down in a paper bag, tieing the top loosely, but with a loop for hanging. They are then hung up on nails in the garage where they will stay for a few weeks until they are quite dry, then crumbled and placed in an air tight jar. We quite like the aroma that comes from the dried stalks and put them on the top of the wood burning stove to lightly scent the room. They can burn so put them on a pyrex dish or similar. Or you could keep them for the next barbecue …
Marjoram can be used for teas as can marigold petals which can relieve stomach aches
There’s nothing nicer than tea made from your own mint. We have a particularly strong one that makes excellent tea. It’s useful too for lamb, as is rosemary.
Sage is a bit strong for tea, but good to help digest fatty meat like pork and goose. Bay leaves are always useful to add to a bouquet garni.
We grew tarragon this year as an experiment but we haven’t used it at all so it will go into the compost bins later next month.
My all time favourite is verveine, it smells just like sherbert lemons and always makes my mouth water at its memory. A tea made with it is absolutely delicious, needs just a little sweetening, and is an excellent drink before bedtime as it does seem to induce sleep.
There are still some Nigella seeds to ripen so we picked them all and put them in a carrier bag hung from the garage beams. They will shake out in a week or so. We use them in meat dishes and sometimes in cakes.
Fennel seeds can be used to make tea, although we prefer to eat them when they are plump and green which is about now.
There is still enough time to cut some bunches of lavender to add to our clothes cupboards and we will keep some seeds for flavouring our favourite shortbread. Alys Fowler has a great recipe in her book The Edible Garden. Now there’s a gardener I admire.
Do you dry herbs? Why not let us know and we’ll write about it in the mag.
Earlier this year we ran a feature about Sarah Bohn who set up UK Swim Store, an online women’s swimwear shop offering branded swimwear for women of all shapes and sizes. But now Sarah has taken things further to provide women with stylish quality confidence-boosting swimwear, by creating her own cover-up swimwear range! We caught up with her recently to find out more …
So what was the thinking behind the Bohn Swimwear range?
The branded swimwear we stock has been great for so many women. By offering swimwear in larger sizes and with various body shaping/support options, ladies of all shapes and sizes have managed to find swimsuits which enable them to feel happy and confident whilst swimming.
But what about those women wanting more coverage? The standard swimsuit is still far too revealing for a lot of women to feel comfortable – legs, bottom, arms, back etc can all be on show, and for some women that’s a deterrent to their swimming.
And cover-up swimwear was the answer?
Well, over the years we’ve stocked a few items that offer more coverage – for example, swim jammers – and they’ve always been very popular. I’ve heard from a lot of women who’ve loved the extra coverage. So why not have a range of cover-up swim separates that women can mix and match to get the right level of coverage for their own specific requirements?
What’s in the Bohn Swimwear range?
The current range is made in classic black, and comprises: ankle length swim leggings, three quarter length swim leggings, ladies’ swim jammers, a swim skirt, short sleeve swim top, and long sleeve swim top. Quality and durability are important – I wanted the Bohn range to be able to compete with the Speedo and Maru we stock, so it’s designed in a material that will not degrade in the pool and has a Sun Protection Factor of 50+. The fabric, which is proper swimwear material, also does not absorb masses of water and is quick drying, so you can jump in and out of the pool without taking half the pool with you!
Have you had any feedback from customers?
Yes, loads! Sales have been great, and there have been lots of emails from women thanking me for giving them back the confidence to swim, which has been so lovely. The market for cover up swimwear is broader than I’d ever imagined. We are selling to Muslim women, women with scarring, women with unsightly veins, women self-conscious of their cellulite, more mature ladies … I’m blown away by some of the feedback we’ve been receiving, it’s beyond anything I’d hoped for.
Here are some testimonials from very happy Bohn Swimwear customers:
I have not been swimming for many years as I am embarrassed by the veins and marks on my legs. I bought a pair of Bohn 3/4 length leggings in April and wear them under my swimming costume. I have now joined a gym and swim regularly – thank you. (Beverley)
I ordered and received a pair of Bohn Swim Leggings. I have had psoriasis quite badly on my legs for the past four years. Before that, I was swimming every week. I am now a mum of five, and had never swum with my kids in a swimming pool. I was using a wet suit for the summer, but the sea is too cold to swim in winter time. BUT NOW … I have been swimming with my children twice this week already. What a difference, I didn’t feel selfconscious at all. A very big thank you for giving me a part of my life back I never though I would. I really can’t thank you enough.(Laraine)
I had an accident recently, and am very selfconscious about showing off my scars in the pool … however, I found your site, put the order in and am over the moon – I can go swimming again.(Catherine)
I purchased the Bohn three quarter length swimming leggings and they have had a huge impact on my life. I love swimming, particularly in the sea, but I used to shy away from it as I didn’t like to wear a regular swimming costume. With the leggings, I am far less self-conscious and have been enjoying frequent swims. They’re comfortable, good quality and actually rather stylish. I’ve been wearing them both over my swimming costume or with just a bikini top and have had many people admire them. I’d highly recommend them, particularly for anyone who’s that bit body conscious like me. (Pam)
I absolutely love the Bohn 3/4 swim leggings. I am quite slim but I have really bad cellulite on my thighs and with these leggings I can now go swimming with my six year old and not worry about my cellulite and I can run on the beach without seeing the tops of my legs. Hurray and thank you. (Lisa)
Being a very cold-blooded person I was absolutely thrilled to be introduced to UK Swim Store’s Bohn long sleeve ladies swim top. I love going to my aqua class but the prospect on a cold and frosty morning was one that I always had to brace myself for! Now I feel warm and comfortable with a close fitting black top that I can wear in or out of the water. (Margaret)
I am very pleased with your Modesty Cover Up Swimwear, as before last year I had never ever been in a pool in my life, and after purchasing one of your tops and leggings, and at fifty years old, I am taking part in Aqua-fit and signed up for some swimming lessons. (Loonat)
Sarah has plans to expand the Bohn Swimwear range over the next twelve months so there will be more pieces to choose from and in more colours. We wish her every success in her mission to transform women’s swimwear.
Val Reynolds, Editor
Latest Tasting News
We’ve just tried a range of fruit drinks that contains no added sugar, just 100% natural ingredients, and which helps to fulfil your five a day diet. And very good they are too!
You can choose between still or gently sparkling flavours, we loved the sparkly Cloudy Lemon and the still Orange and Mango. The Cranberry and Pomegranate appealed to the older teens and the younger kids loved the small cartons. The grownups appreciated the good, solid feel of the glass bottles, recyclable.
Where to buy? Supermarkets and you will see them in Costa Coffee shops and in Orchid pubs and restaurants.
So what’s the story behind this range of drinks?
Founded by three friends who had all worked together at Coca Cola, Dave Wallwork, Chris Wright and Steve Cooper created the company with the simple aim of making gorgeous tasting, healthy soft drinks, and to have fun while doing it.
Feel Good by name and Feel Good by nature, the company’s ambition is to spread ‘feelgoodness’ throughout everything it does; whether that’s developing a brand new range of drinks packed full of the good stuff, making drinkers smile with their marketing activities, or giving each team member five extra ‘feelgoodness’ days off each year to help out a charity that means something to them!
Globally, Feel Good Drinks can be found in no less than 12 countries including Hong Kong, Finland, France, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Greece, Norway and Ireland – and this number is growing all the time!
PS If you can’t get enough mango do try some dried fruit from Tropical Wholefoods, available in all good health food stores, Oxfam stores, Fairtrade shops and catalogues and of course at our favourite online supplier GoodnessDirect We love ‘em! And we are giving some packets away click here for info
Oranges are full of Vitamin C, other nutrients are vitamin A (as beta carotene), potassium, calcium and most other vitamins and minerals but in small amounts. Orange juice is a popular drink but in reality eating an orange is better than consuming juice as the membrane contains bioflavanoids which have antioxidant properties.
The many types of orange include Jaffas, mandarins, clementines, satsumas, tangerines, the bitter Seville orange (suitable for marmalade) and kumquats. They can all be used in different recipes both sweet and savoury.
Chicken & Orange Hot Salad
500g/1lb 2oz boneless chicken, cut into strips
1 tabsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 packet rocket
2 large oranges
2 tsp wholegrain mustard mixed with 1 tabsp olive oil
1 tabsp sunflower seeds or chopped chives
Fry onion and chicken in oil quickly until browned. Add oranges, mustard and oil to warm through
Put rocket onto serving dish and place chicken/orange mixture on top. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds or chopped chives
Orange Drizzle Cake
110g/4oz caster sugar
110g/4oz rice flour
One heaped teasp baking powder
Topping – juice 1 orange
2 tabsp caster sugar
Heat oven 180 degree / gas 4
7″ square cake tin lined with baking parchment
Put all ingredients in a bowl and using a hand electric mixer whiz together until a smooth creamy mix is obtained. Do not overbeat otherwise you will have a heavy cake. Add approx 1 tabsp milk to mix.
Put mix into lined tin and bake 20mins
When cool remove from tin and sprinkle cake with orange juice, then sprinkle over remaining sugar
Brandysnaps – Special recipe for coeliacs
110g/4oz dairy free margarine
110g/4oz caster sugar
2 tablsp golden syrup
110g/4oz rice flour
1 tsp ground ginger
Makes approx 14 brandysnaps
4 oranges – peeled and sliced. For a touch of luxury the slices can be marinated in brandy.
Cream or dairy free ice cream
Heat oven 180degrees/ gas 4
Melt margarine, sugar and golden syrup together in a saucepan, remove from heat, stir in rice flour and ginger
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and place small spoonfuls of mix on to paper. Make sure these are well spaced as they spread on cooking.
Cook until golden and bubbling approx 10 mins.
Allow to cool for a few seconds and roll over small pieces of plastic tubing. Allow to cool completely. Can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
Fill brandy snaps with whipped cream or dairy free ice cream and serve with the marinated oranges.
Sallie Darnell – Sadly Sallie died a couple of years ago. Sallie was an inspired and down to earth professional cook whose husband became wheat intolerant. That led her to devise scrumptious and appealing recipes for him. We admired and valued her recipes and are pleased to pass them on, a valuable resource for coeliacs.