Riverside Farm Waterblommetjies 400 g
Waterblommetjies literally means “little water flowers”, but the more scientific name is Aponogeton Distachyos – known in English as Cape Pondweed or Water Hawthorn.
These aquatic plants are native to South Africa’s Western Cape province but have also been introduced elsewhere in warm, temperate winter rainfall areas.
They prefer growing in ponds or swamps which dry up in summer, when the plant becomes dormant. When the ponds fill with autumn rain, the plant sprouts again. The leaves are narrow and oval and float on the surface, and the sweetly scented white flowers grow in raised Y-shaped spikes that stand clear of the water.
But if you want to eat the flowers, they need to be harvested while they are still in bud phase, which is typically in the winter months of June to September.
Waterblommetjies have been successfully cultivated in France and the UK as ornamental plants, but nowhere has the idea of eating them caught on as strongly as in the Cape, where waterblommetjie bredie (a stew made from lamb potatoes and waterblommetjies) is a much-loved delicacy. The texture of the flowers is somewhat like miniature artichoke leaves, but the taste is far more subtle – think green beans with a hint of lemon.
The good news for those of you who want to make this authentically South African dish is that you do not have to dig a pond and start growing – tinned waterblommetjies are available at good South African shops around the world.
Made in South Africa.