The nasturtium was not native to the Colonies, but instead would have been brought from the “Old World,” according to the National Park Service’s ‘Roger Williams National Memorial’ website describing the kitchen garden. In fact, the nasturtium seeds were brought from Peru to Spain in the 16th century.
The website lists and describes many plants that were selected and brought over to the Colonies:
Horehound, Angelica, Winter Savory, Lady’s Mantle, Sage, Hyssop, Calendula/Pot Marigold, Oregano/Wild Marjoram, Borage/Bee Bread, Tansy, Spearmint, Violet, Clove Pink/Gilly flower/Border Carnation
Our kitchen garden includes the lovely nasturtium, and we find the pickled buds of the Nasturtium quite tasty, reminding us of capers.
Here is a “receipt”, or recipe, for you to try from Mrs. Gardiner’s Family Receipts—a personal manuscript book that Anne Gibbons Gardiner began keeping in 1763 in Boston, MA:
Nasturtium Buds, to pickle
“Gather the Nasturtium Berries soon after the blossom are gone off, and before the Berries become old or hard, put them into cold Salt and Water, and change the Water once a Day, for three successive Days, Make your Pickle with white wine Vinegar, sliced Nutmeg, Mace, Pepper, Salt, Shallots, and Horse-radish. You must make your Pickle strong, as it is not to be boiled. When your Nasturtium Berries have drained, put them into a Jar, and pour the Pickle over them.”