harvesting is enjoying a well-deserved revival in the Pacific Northwest. Commonly known as stinging nettles, this prickly-leaved plant that stings when touched grows well in our region and is sought-after for its ability to relieve #allergies
and for its nutritive content: nettle leaves contain the highest plant source of iron. The flavor is similar to spinach.
• Obtain permission to forage on private land. Many landowners will be happy to let you pick what they consider a noxious weed!
• Wear protective clothing and the heaviest work gloves you can find.
• Pick nettles away from freeway traffic and where they are free of contamination by agricultural pesticides.
• Harvest leaves early in spring, before seed heads appear. Pick the smallest leaves, starting where the second leaves meet the main stem.
• Use nettles as you would spinach and incorporate the leaves into everyday recipes like lasagna, quiche, soups or casseroles!
Here are 2 great #recipes
"Delectable Nettle Smoothie"
by Christie Mae Qualey
makes about 1-4 servings
2 cups pure water
3-5 leaves kale (organic)
1 small handful nettles, freshly picked
2 large mangos (organic)
1 cup Fuji apple (organic)
1 cup ice
Blend kale and apple. Add water and part of the mango and blend again briefly. Add the greens and remaining fruit and ice.
"Creamy Nettle Soup"
by Debra Daniels-Zeller
1 Tbs coconut or canola oil
1 large onion, diced
1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 stalks celery, siced
1 head garlic; cloves separated and peeled
4 cups vegetable stock
1 baked potato, skin removed
10 cups nettles, rinsed
1/4 cup light miso
1/4 cup cashew butter
1 lemon, cut into wedges
croutons or grated Parmesan (optional)
Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add oil, onion and pepper flakes. Stir, reduce heat, cover and sweat the onions until transparent.
Add celery and press garlic cloves into the mixture. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Blend in 3 cups of stock.
Purée the potato into the remaining cup of stock. Add it to the soup. Stir in nettles and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until nettles are tender.
Purée soup, no more than 2 cups at a time in a blender.
Blend in the miso and cashew butter. Return to soup pot and heat gently for a few minutes.
Serve with a lemon wedge and top with croutons or cheese, if desired.
Debra Daniels-Zeller is author of The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook: 200 Recipes That Celebrate the Flavors of Oregon and Washington (Timber Press, 2010). She is a regular contributor to Vegetarian Journal magazine and writes a delightful food blog at http://foodconnections.blogspot.com
. She can be reached at (425) 776-4689.