Search This Blog

...a glimpse into life on Vancouver Island, needle felting, photography, food, gardening, etcetera...etcetera
"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Friday, April 6, 2012

Nasty but tasty!

I am in search of the famed nettle.
O.K, maybe I don't have to search very far, in fact there
are plenty close at hand.
Healthy and many.
Up in the back of our property, in behind the hen yard, the nettles are at their prime.
Now is the time to use them as spinach, or in pesto as I'm doing...
"But wait!" you say.
"Aren't those things called stinging nettle for a reason?"
Oh yes!
Don't go hunting without these weapons of protection!
Gloves to save yourself from the histamines in these tiny spines on raw nettles...
...and clippers to snip the tops.
I find even with gloves, pinching them off can cause a sting
if you don't have leather gloves.
If you've never encountered the wrath of a nettle, believe me you NEVER want to.
The sting from these babies will be with you for days.
Kind of a combination of a burn and a bee sting.
Nettles are so high in iron and good for blood purification, dandruff, allergies
and countless other things too many to mention.
A tea made from loads of them is great fertilizer for your garden.
The trick?
Steam them for about 2 minutes and the sting is gone.
I freeze steamed nettles on cookie sheets and pack them loosely in bags.
Use them for a spinach substitute, adding them to soups, spannokopita,
stews, tea or as I did, making pesto.
There are many recipes on the net for nettle pesto but
my take on it is that I still add some basil for flavour.
It's much more economical and probably more nutritious.
Just remember...
always use tongs and gloves and long sleeves and pants until
you've safely steamed them.
Good for your heart too!
So love them big time!


Ciara said...

Something I've never done, but have always wanted to try! Yes, an abundance of them here too.
Thank you for the inspiration, I might just do it. :)

Cobalt Violet said...

I had no idea! Beautiful pictures of them by the way. They look amazing in the basket too. Beautiful color and shapes!

Sara Dahlman said...

I've never tried this, but I think I might just give it a go.

Mary said...

Have never had them, but maybe should give some a try. I have to admit they look kind of pretty all trimmed in your basket there. I never would have thought of making pesto with nettles! It's probably been done for ages now, but this is how i am sometimes. It can take me YEARS to discover some pretty great things. Happy Springtime and Easter to you Kerry!