Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stinging Nettles!

One of the vendors at the farmer's market last Saturday was selling stinging nettle. I've heard about stinging nettles before, but I

a) wouldn't know what they looked like if I came across them and
b) wouldn't know what to do with them if I came into possession of some.

Problem solved, thanks to Irvin...the wonderful Amish man who sold us a bag of stinging nettles for $2.00 at the market. He said he liked to make tea with them and he gave us a whole paper on the things we could use it for.

{photo credit: wikipedia.com}

Irvin said he liked to make tea out of it. So we did! It was pretty awesome tea, if I may say so myself. I was headachin' all day Sunday and the nettle tea did a bit to relieve it. I even made it iced - a refreshing refreshment for a hot day!

Last night, we did something different with the nettles though. We made them into pesto! I love your run-of-the-mill basil pesto, but I have no fresh basil to make it at the moment. Stinging nettle pesto was a nice retreat from the norm. 

Be careful with this stuff though, the plant has microscopic hairs all over that sting when you touch them. They are essentially, little needles that inject the skin with histamines and various other chemicals that produce a stinging sensation that can last a couple of hours. {side note, I just read that some people have eating contests with stinging nettle, to see who can eat the most raw nettle...that sounds painful!} So you have to boil the plant before you can use it in any recipes, because boiling will remove the stinging chemicals. 

stinging nettle pesto
adapted from Fat of the Land
enough for 2 servings

prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 5 minutes

  • 1 cup stinging nettles, blanched and chopped
  • ¼ - ½ cup raw pine nuts
  • 4-5 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ - ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Blanch the stinging nettle in boiling water, until they become soft (a cooked spinach-like texure). Drain and chop.
  2. Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until desired pesto consistency is reached.

stinging nettle pesto on homemade pasta

So that's the story, morning glory. Stinging nettles.

Definitely try them out if you get a chance to.

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