Fun with nettle

Posted by & filed under health, the accidental gardener.

fresh nettle

Today I harvested nettle for the first time. And made nettle pesto with it. And documented the whole thing with my camera.

With no CF card. So all those pictures? They didn’t happen. (Too bad, there were some good ones.)

But my adventure with nettle did, so I’ll write about it.

First of all, there is a reason nettle is called stinging nettle.

I thought if I was very careful, I could harvest it without being stung.

I was wrong. Can you say R-E-S-P-E-C-T? Can you say G-L-O-V-E-S?

I have such a big patch of nettles next to what used to be one of our goat pastures. And it continues to expand. Half of what I picked was from the nettle that was growing into the grass that Andy will just be mowing down in a few weeks.

Once I got the nettle inside, I switched from garden gloves to kitchen gloves. The respect continued as I snipped off all the leaves into a big bowl, rinsed them, and then measured 3 packed cups of the leaves into the food processor along with 2 cloves garlic, a bunch of wood sorrel (growing in my indoor containers along with other plants), some of the hickory nuts I gathered last year that I coaxed Andy to crack open, only he gave up after about 8 or 10 nuts. It took so long to dig the nut meat out of even those few and I was way short the half cup I wanted for the recipe, so I added walnuts, too, instead of cracking more myself. Some salt, 1/2 cup olive oil, and 3/4 cup nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor finished up the ingredient list.

I cooked up some of Trader Joe’s Lemon Papardelle noodles and put a generous dollup of the pesto on top.

The verdict? It wasn’t half bad. I had my doubts. It certainly didn’t have that wonderful smell basil pesto has. But it was good in its own way, and it’s free from my yard and full of vitamins. And I don’t have basil growing yet.

The rest of the leaves went into my largest size mason jar to make an infusion to drink over the next couple of days.

Oh, and Andy’s verdict?

He says he’s going to wait to see if I survive the night. He thinks I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous right now.

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One Response to “Fun with nettle”

  1. Dave Bronson

    Scary. Those things are deadly. I have never seen them growing around here, but when I was fossil hunting in upstate New York… Well. They hurt for like 30 seconds, but when they are completely surrounding you… it can get bad. I can’t believe you ate them?!

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