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Stinging Nettle Pesto

Hoca

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It is spring nettle season here in southern Ontario and I am taking FULL advantage. If you haven’t checked out my Stinging Nettle, Wild Leek and Potato Soup recipe I highly recommend you do, as it is quite delicious.

Learning what wild foods are safe, healthy, and nutritious to eat is a vital skill. With the cost of many items including food going up, it behooves us to start to explore our most abundant wild foods. Now I must say, it is also vital that we stay ethical in our hunt for these foods and not wipe out entire populations of plants just to fill our pantries. Being good stewards of the land is absolutely vital as we explore wild foods and medicines.

Nutritional Benefits of Nettles​


Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) boasts impressive amounts of:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin K
  • Silica

In fact, one cup of cooked stinging nettle leaves (which is equivalent to two cups fresh) easily contains 10% of your daily iron and 35% of your daily calcium. As mentioned above, they impressive levels of vitamin A (three times the recommended daily serving), B complex, vitamin K1 and vitamin C. All of these vitamins combined actually aid in the absorption of iron and other minerals from the plant. I just love how intuitive nature is; of course a plant contains all the vitamins you need to readily absorb it’s minerals.

What is lovely about working with nettles is that once it is cooked, steamed, sautéed, exposed to alcohol or vinegar, they lose their patented sting.







A Note About Young vs. Mature Nettles

As the nettle plant matures, the silica content in the plant increases. This is one of the main reason we want to harvest Urtica for medicine after it has flowered. These silica levels, in therapeutic dosing in tinctures, provide excellent support for the urinary tract and kidneys. However, when consuming large amounts (like in this soup), you want to ensure you get young spring nettles as the high silica content can be irritating to the kidneys when consumed in large quantities.



This recipe can also be found in my book Spiraling Roots, so if you don’t have your copy yet, you can snag it here.

Stinging Nettle Pesto
A delicious and nutritious foraged food that is delicious on pasta, pizza, sandwiches, or as a dip with crackers.
Ingredients
  • 6cups fresh stinging nettle leaves
  • 4-8 cloves garlicto taste
  • 1/2cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cupcup nuts or seedspine, almond, walnuts, or sunflower seeds
  • 1/4-1/2cup olive oil
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot to boil and while you are waiting, remove the nettle leaves from the stems. Continue to wear gloves during this process.
  2. Once your water is boiling, using tongs, blanche your nettle leaves for 1-2 minutes. This will remove the sting.
  3. Immediately place your nettles in a bowl of ice (or very cold) water. This stops the cooking process and allows the nettle to retain its amazing colour.
  4. Once cooled, squeeze as much water out of your nettle as possible. Place it on a kitchen towel to dry.
  5. Peel and add your garlic, cheese, and nuts/seeds of choice to your food processor. Add in the nettle leaves.
  6. Pulse until all your ingredients are well mixed. With your food processor on, add your lemon juice first and then your olive oil. Start with 1/4 cup of oil and increase until you reach your desired consistency.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!



Enjoy!



Regular Readers/Watchers​


If you are a regular reader of this blog or viewer of Spiraea’s content on YouTube, I would be honoured if you took at peek at my Patreon site. Patreon is a crowd-funding site where folks can show their gratitude for the free content that creators like me produce. My currently Patreon family has been so amazing and supportive. They are the only reason I can continue to put out free video content on my YouTube channel and write blog posts right here. I have immense gratitude for them and would be thrilled if you joined us.




The post Stinging Nettle Pesto appeared first on Spiraea.
 
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